LAHORE: Karandaaz Pakistan, a firm that is a source of financing for Pakistan’s innovative companies, announced on Wednesday funding for three Pakistani financial technology start-ups, namely Ricult Pakistan, Paysys Labs and PublishEX Solutions.

The start-ups, which were the winners of the first-ever FinTech Disrupt Challenge held here in November 2016, will receive a grant of $100,000 each funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

As many as 28 start-ups had participated in the Fintech Disrupt Challenge held in collaboration with the LUMS Centre for Entrepreneurship, which showcased a display of talent from start-ups across the nation.

Ricult is focused on changing the way farming is being done by bringing a more data-based approach and reducing inefficiencies in the system. A farmer can register for free with Ricult by phone where they can order supplies and be referred to a credit partner if they need a loan on convenient and affordable credit terms. Money is then transferred to Ricult, which manages the delivery of products to farmers. Ricult earns a small percentage of each transaction. Through this grant, Ricult will integrate a mobile-wallet into its platform, which will disburse money to farmers’ accounts.

Paysys Labs is a technology start-up in the domain of digital financial services with a key focus on research and development. It will use the grant to introduce a biometric ID verification solution that uses a smartphone camera to provide financial service providers with seamless biometric authentication anytime and anywhere.

PublishEX Solutions plans to use the grant to build its platform, Direct Carrier Billing (DCB), a payment channel which enables merchants to seamlessly monetise digital goods and services for their users on a global scale. Its service aims to provide users with a simple, secure and fast way of making payments via available balance in their mobile SIM without any requirement for a credit card or bank account.

Karandaaz Pakistan Digital Financial Services Director Rehan Akhtar said the initial mobilisation amount will give the winners a kick-start to their projects. “With this grant, we intend to provide them with capital inflow for the next one year,” he said, adding that the grant will enable start-ups to remain focused on operations rather than worrying about lack of finance.

Published in Dawn February 9th, 2017

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