Pakistan-based start-up – Airlift – has announced $85 million series B financing led by investors around the world and is one of the largest financing in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region co-led by Josh Buckley (Buckley Ventures) and Harry Stebbings (20VC).

According to a statement issued, other major participants included Sam Altman (ex-President YCombinator), Biz Stone (Co-founder at Twitter/Medium), Jeffrey Katzenberg (ex-CEO Disney), Taavet Hinrikus (Founder/CEO at TransferWise), and Seve Pagliuca (Co-Chairman, Bain Capital).

The financing is about twice the size of the largest private company initial public offering (IPO) in Pakistan’s history and the highest in the MENA region, bringing a number of implications for the country.

The company plans to bring foreign investors to invest in Pakistan. “It will garner confidence that great technology and consumer products can be built in Pakistan, and that this region of the world has some of the best talents,” the statement added.

Airlift Express alone with its series B funding of $85 million has added 5% to Pakistan’s foreign direct investment (FDI) for fiscal year 2021. This financing round lays the foundations of a new dawn in Pakistan where technology start-ups alone can contribute to more than 10% of FDI in the upcoming years.

The company is building a platform for consumers, drivers, and small business owners to move consumer goods. With an agile supply chain, Airlift is working to create thousands of jobs within Pakistan and is on a mission to create 200,000 jobs in Pakistan within the next five years. Shedding light on the achievement, Airlift CEO and Co-Founder Usman Gul said, “A year ago, Airlift halted operations on the transit service and diversified into last-mile grocery delivery.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 19th, 2021.

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