Come rain or shine, one thing that has remained constant in Pakistan whenever there is any mention of digitization: when’s PayPal entering the market? While the global payments giant has made its intentions very clear time and again, other international Fintechs have their eyes set on Pakistan.
This interest derives from how despite a huge population, only around 25% of Pakistanis are banked while the penetration of other financial services – such as credit, investments, and insurance – is even lower. Many home-grown fintechs have already taken up the challenge to solve it and gotten the backing of local and international investors alike. In fact, it was the second most funded sector in 2021 as Pakistani fintechs raised $96 million, compared to $10.4M in 2020. And now foreign players want a piece of the pie too, so let’s introduce some of the notable ones.
What is it? Rain Financial is a Middle Eastern cryptocurrency trading platform headquartered out of Bahrain. It was founded in 2017 by Abdullah Almoaiqel, AJ Nelson, Joseph Dallago, and Yehia Badawy.
Scale: The platform currently operates in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE. It currently has 200,000 users who have conducted over $2B worth of transactions.
Funding: The company has raised a total of $202.9M in funding with its most recent $110M Series B round led by Kleiner Perkins and Paradigm.
Plans for Pakistan: Rain has appointed Zeeshan Shah, former CEO of Askari Enterprises as its Country Head and wishes to leverage the business of over 9 million Pakistanis who own crypto. It is currently waiting for its license before it can formally begin operations.
What is it? OPay is a Nigerian mobile payment service that allows consumers to send and receive money, pay bills, and conduct online shopping. It was founded in 2018 by Yahui Zhou.
Scale: Their service is currently available in only Nigeria and Egypt. It has 160M users in the African market and processes $3B in transactions every day.
Funding: The company has raised $570M in funding with its most recent $400M Series C round led by Soft Bank.
Plans for Pakistan: Opay has a sizeable team based out of Daftarkhwan in Lahore and has partnered up with Euronet to host its value-added services on Euronet’s payment rails.
What is it? Tyme is a multi-country digital banking app that is primarily based in South Africa. It was founded in 2012 by Tjaart van der Walt and Coenraad Jonker.
Scale: Tyme Bank currently has operations in South Africa, Vietnam, and Singapore with a recent expansion into the Philippines. Since obtaining a banking license in 2017 in South Africa, the bank has acquired 3.5M customers.
Funding: The company has raised $209M in funding with its most recent $180M Series B round led by Tencent and CDC.
Plans for Pakistan: Tyme Bank has applied for a digital banking license to start its operations in the country and has onboarded former payment executives from Telenor Microfinance Bank and Paysys Labs in leadership positions.
What is it? Alif Bank, based in Tajikistan is a product of Alif Holdings which provides Shariah-compliant financial products. The company got its banking license in 2016 and was founded by Abdullo Kurbanov, Zuhursho Rahmatulloev, Firdavs Mirzoev, and Rajabbek Sulaymonbekov.
Scale: Alif has a full banking license in Tajikistan and a payments license in Uzbekistan. The bank’s services are currently being used by 800,000 customers.
Funding: Alif has raised $58M in funding which was a mixture of debt and equity provided by Jefferson Capital.
Plans for Pakistan: Alif has applied for a digital banking license to start its operations in the country and has appointed a country representative for Pakistan.