Dastgyr Technologies Pvt., which seeks to build an e-commerce platform for emerging economies similar to Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., has raised $37 million in Pakistan’s largest-ever Series A fundraising.
Dastgyr Raises Record $37 Million
The funding was led by the venture arm of telecommunications operator Veon Ltd., which contributed around 40% of the investment. The Dutch-based conglomerate serves over 217 million users in nine countries and is Pakistan’s largest mobile phone service provider.
Dastgyr’s funding is a bright spot for the South Asian country, which has been hit hard by the global IT downturn following a breakthrough year in 2021. Careem Inc., a subsidiary of Uber Technologies Inc., has halted food deliveries in the country, while Swvl Holdings, based in Dubai, has halted operations and Airlift Technologies Pvt. has laid off a third of its workers.
“Pakistan’s startup ecosystem is at a crossroads, and only firms focused on addressing important concerns and embracing local solutions will survive and prosper. This investment demonstrates VEON’s commitment to growing Pakistan’s digital economy, and also gives Dastgyr a platform to develop synergies with Jazz’s 75 million subscribers and JazzCash, further integrating the startup into Pakistan’s financial ecosystem, said Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Veon’s local unit, Jazz.
Pakistan’s economy is mostly centred on cash, but innovators are working to change that. Dastgyr is a one-stop platform that connects retailers like grocery stores with different suppliers including Nestle SA and Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc. Currently, most conventional retailers meet 100 vendors per week or physically peruse different markets to stock their shelves.
It Operates in 5 Locations
In the five locations where it operates, around 100,000 retailers have used the online marketplace since it launched less than two years ago. Rather than buying and keeping everything in actual warehouses, it connects buyers and sellers over a digital platform to keep prices down. In 2022, it intends to expand into 15 additional markets in Pakistan and into a new country.
While the company began by serving grocery stores, it is now expanding into new business-to-business sectors such as cement, steel, and other construction supplies. Electronics, medicines, and other retail sectors are also being considered, according to Owais.