Abhi, Pakistan’s first-ever financial wellness platform, enabling employees to access accrued salary in advance, announces the successful completion of a pre-Series A capital raise.
The fundraising was led by international venture capital (“VC”) firm Global Ventures and supported by VentureSouq, VEF, US-based VC firm Next Billion Ventures, and Rally Cap. Also participating were regional VC firms – Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.
The caliber of investors is a testament to Abhi’s platform, which is transforming the way business facilitates employees’ cash needs. Proceeds will be used to support continued growth and meet overwhelming customer demand for Abhi’s platform.
Even with very low cash burn rates, and is set to achieve free cash flow positivity four months after launching – Abhi’s explosive growth and the market opportunity in Pakistan, are likely to lead to further Series A funding in the near future.
Omair Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of Abhi, said:
“We are thrilled to announce this fundraise. Receiving investment and endorsement from the likes of Global Ventures, VentureSouq and other eminent VC names, gives us great confidence in our business model. The proceeds will help us meet the huge customer demand we are experiencing; our growth has exploded since full operations began in July. We are already working with over 75 companies, who have an employee base of a quarter of a million people.
“We look forward to assisting more companies in Pakistan to be flexible in facilitating employees’ cash needs, and to help employees manage financial stress and unexpected expenses.”
Abhi’s objective is to tackle financial stress by enabling employees to meet their financial obligations without exposure to debt traps – but also to benefit employers.
For employers, the platform has zero costs involved – thus avoiding any impact on the payroll cycle or cash flow.
For employees, pre-Abhi, options for cash access were three-fold: company-based salary advances which was a lengthy process, credit cards or loans from financial institutions, the latter two of which were both lengthy and expensive.
With Abhi, employees now avoid expensive alternatives and lead time as Abhi’s platform provides rapid access to accrued salary in advance, both interest-free and Shariah-compliant. Employees make an advance salary request using Abhi’s app or website, and funds (after a flat 2% transaction fee deduction) are deposited into the employee’s account of choice, with automatic deductions on the next payroll – eliminating any overspending risk.
Total Payment Values processed by Abhi have scaled rapidly, increasing from single-digit thousands of dollars when full operations commenced in July, to several hundreds of thousands in September, and is expected to hit over US$4 million in Total Payments Values and USD$ 50,000 in Monthly Recurring Revenue by December.
Abhi already works with over 75 companies, including Baskin-Robbins, ePlanet, and TPL Corp, which have an employee base of a quarter of a million people.
The company was founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai earlier this year. Both are very experienced in financial services and in the entrepreneurial world. Omair led investments in FinTech start-ups in emerging markets, and was as a Portfolio Manager at an investment bank, Morgan Stanley, before starting Abhi. Ali worked for the global bank, HSBC, and co-founded CompareOn Pakistan – the product comparison platform.
Noor Sweid, General Partner at Global Ventures, said:
“Abhi is our first investment in Pakistan. Not only are we excited by the country’s $3.5 billion opportunity in the consumer finance market, but also the stellar founders capturing it. Abhi, a first mover in the salary advance market in Pakistan, is enabling employees to regularly and consistently meet their financial obligations through instant approval loans. Omair and Ali are impacting communities by making financial wellness a reality for the country’s thousands of employees and their families.”
Sonia Gokhale, General Partner at VentureSouq, commented:
“Abhi’s business model provides a long-term positive impact on salary advances in Pakistan, and with such strong market opportunities in the region, we are very excited to support Abhi in their growth and goals.”