The largest early-stage investment round in Pakistani fintech history was completed by Dbank, and Sequoia Capital made its first foray into Pakistan’s startup ecosystem.
The seed round headed by Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia and Kleiner Perkins secured $17.6 million for Dbank. Nubank, a digital banking platform, was joined by RTP Global, Rayn, and local bank partner Askari Bank Ltd.
Pakistan, the world’s fifth-largest population country, saw a record $350 million in startup funding last year. The economy of this South Asian nation is only getting started.
Uber Technologies Inc.’s Careem Inc. affiliate has halted food deliveries, and Airlift Technologies Pvt. has shut down after raising India’s largest round ever last year, but the country is still facing the effects of the global slowdown.
When Tania Aidrus and Khurram Jamali, two long-time colleagues from Google, decided to start their own business together, they called it Dbank. It plans to open a digital retail bank in Pakistan, with the goal of expanding into the Islamic world.
Kleiner Perkins partner Mamoon Hamid stated that, Pakistan is a huge emerging market. According to the World Bank, the country has the third-largest unbanked population in the world, with 110 million adults who do not have access to banking services.
When it comes to banking, “Pakistan has a rapidly expanding middle class with increasingly complex needs,” says Johan Surani, vice president of Sequoia Southeast Asia. For the first time ever, a massive, customer-focused bank can be built for millions of individuals.