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Monday November 29, 2021

Salary-Advance Startup Abhi attracts UAE, US funding at $40mln valuation

By Newsdesk
November 16, 2021
Salary-Advance Startup Abhi attracts UAE, US funding at $40mln valuation

KARACHI: Pakistani financial platform Abhi Pvt. raised funds at a $40 million valuation just four months after introducing its business that allows salaried employees to access funds before payday, Bloomberg reported on Monday

The Karachi-based company’s bridge round was led by UAE-based Global Ventures, which invested for the first time in Pakistan, according to Chief Executive Officer Omair Ansari. US-based Next Billion Ventures, VEF AB, Rally Cap Sarmayacar and VentureSouq also participated in the fundraising, along with TPL e-Ventures and i2i Ventures, he said.

The company plans its Series A round early next year, Ansari, who left Morgan Stanley in New York and moved to Karachi for the startup, said.

The startup is aiming to become the first financial wellness platform by changing how people spend their money through its web and mobile app, it says. The platform will start operations in Bangladesh early next year, said Ansari. There is no such platform in Sri Lanka and countries in the Middle East, he said, providing expansion opportunities for the company, added the report.

Abhi’s platform aims to enable employees of its partners to withdraw salary advances based on their accrued wages at any time. As the fintech will be funding these advances, they will have no effect on partner employer’s balance sheets and repayments will be deducted from the employee’s salary.

The app takes less than 30 seconds and two clicks for a registered user to access the funds, with a flat 2 percent transaction fee. The funds are automatically deducted from the next paycheck. Abhi is also offering working capital to businesses.

Other than the app, about 10 percent users accessed funds by sending an SMS and 15 percent via WhatsApp. It plans to add more products including savings instruments. Abhi is set to become cash flow positive next month.

Pakistan, the world’s fifth most populous nation, received more than $300 million funding in startups this year, which is a record amount that is more than in the past six years combined.