Pakistani mobility startup Airlift has raised $10 million in fresh funds from new and existing investors, it announced in a statement to MENAbytes today. The round, Series A-1, comes just eight months after Airlift closed $12 million in country's largest Series A, and takes its total raise to date to over $24 million.
“Airlift’s financing round marks one of the largest capital investments in the region, at a time when the risk of a global recession is at an all-time high. The investment marks a new high for the Pakistani startup ecosystem, highlighting the unique opportunity that is prevalent in the region,” said the startup in a statement.
The round was led by San Francisco-based Quiet Capital with participation of London-based TrueSight Ventures & RT Ventures, Abu Dhabi-based Shorooq Partners, Taiwan-based ACE Capital, and some other local partners. Existing investors including San Francisco-based First Round Capital (that had led Airlift's Series A), Fatima Gobi Ventures and Indus Valley Capital also joined the round.
Launched last year, Airlift enables users to book rides on premium quality buses that have fixed routes, stops, and times, in Lahore & Karachi. It had temporarily suspended its services due to Covid-19 in March earlier this year and hasn’t resumed them until now as the number of cases in Pakistan continues to grow.
The Pakistani startup is now expanding into groceries with the launch of its 45-minute grocery delivery service in Lahore. The service called Airlift Grocer is launching today after running a private beta for over a month. It is available through a dedicated website and mobile apps, allowing users to order groceries and other household essentials. It charges a flat fee of less than a dollar (PKR 100 or $0.6) for every order.
It's being operated as a pure-play with Airlift having its own inventory and warehouse to fulfill the orders. The riders that Airlift is using to deliver the orders are freelancers.
Grocery delivery is already a crowded space in Pakistan but there are very few players that offer fast same-day delivery and that's the problem that Airlift is trying to solve.