'Pakistan is open for business': PM Imran lauds Airlift achievement of securing $85m financing

Published August 20, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan says the PTI government is fully committed to creating further business opportunities. ─ File photo by Irfan Ahson
Prime Minister Imran Khan says the PTI government is fully committed to creating further business opportunities. ─ File photo by Irfan Ahson

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday welcomed the $85 million investment through Series B financing — the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history — in Airlift, a Lahore-based online shopping delivery service.

Series B financing is the second round of funding for a company that has met certain milestones and is past the initial startup stage.

"We welcome the recent investment of $85m by leading VCs (venture capitalists) of the world in Airlift, a company led by young Pakistanis," he tweeted.

The premier said Pakistan had "huge potential" and was open for business, adding that the PTI government was "fully committed" to creating further opportunities.

Responding to the prime minister's tweet, Airlift thanked him for bringing attention to the milestone, adding that it would pave the way for more investments in Pakistani startups.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar also praised the achievement. He said he was "glad" to share that global investors were exhibiting confidence in Pakistan's evolving technology space.

Azhar Mashwani, Punjab chief minister's focal person for digital media, meanwhile, pointed out that investment in Pakistani startups had increased from $170m between 2015 and 2020 to $193m in 2021 alone.

"Best of luck to Airlift and all others," he tweeted.

The $85m amount raised is around twice the size of the largest private company initial public offering in Pakistan’s history and the highest in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Airlift Technologies Co-founder and CEO Usman Gul said the financing would add five per cent to the country’s foreign direct investment for the fiscal year 2022.

“A year ago, Airlift halted operations on the transit service and diversified into last-mile grocery delivery. Today, our team closed $85m in Series B financing to scale our delivery platform across continents.

"With this financing, we as Pakistanis must return to where we started from fighting against the odds and staying true to our core values of hustle, teamwork, resourcefulness, and bias to action. If this is the journey of a thousand miles, we have taken only the first step,” he said.

Now you can follow Dawn Business on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook for insights on business, finance and tech from Pakistan and across the world.

Opinion

Editorial

Another U-turn?
Updated 07 Oct, 2022

Another U-turn?

The PTI’s decision to take back its resignations could herald a twist in the tussle playing out in Islamabad.
Renewed TTP threat
07 Oct, 2022

Renewed TTP threat

THE interior ministry’s call for ‘extreme vigilance’ and instructions to security forces to conduct ‘search...
Women’s gala in GB
07 Oct, 2022

Women’s gala in GB

REGRESSIVE forces, once again, nearly had their way — this time in Gilgit-Baltistan. A three-day sporting gala for...
‘Draconian’ law
06 Oct, 2022

‘Draconian’ law

THE debate over what it means to be ‘sadiq’ and ‘ameen’ has reignited after the incumbent Supreme Court ...
Welcome clarity
Updated 06 Oct, 2022

Welcome clarity

There needs to be consensus amongst all political actors that matters of governance should be the exclusive domain of civilians.
Car purchases
06 Oct, 2022

Car purchases

IF we are in the market to buy a new car, we end up paying a significantly large amount as premium over the sticker...