Digital accounting app Metric, which caters to small and medium businesses (SMBs) and startups, has raised $900,000 in pre-seed funding in an oversubscribed round, the fintech announced on Thursday.
The Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan (MENAP)-based company raised the funding in a round led by i2i Ventures, along with participation from local and international venture capitalists (VCs), including Ratio Ventures, Deosai Ventures, Kinnow Capital, Outliers Venture Capital and Augmentor Capital.
Angels, including Aspire and Lifepal’s founder Giacomo Ficari, Arif Habib Limited Chairperson Alam Zafar, deep tech VC Faridul Haque and founder of Eligible.ai Rameez Zafar, also took part in the round.
According to a press release, the round marked Outliers Venture Capital's and Augmentor Capital’s first investment in a Pakistan-based startup.
"The startup plans to use this round to grow across Pakistan and quickly expand to other markets in the MENA region," the press release stated.
The founders and the app
The press release said Metric, which was launched in August 2021 by Meenah Tariq and Omar Parvez Khan, reached $20 million in annualised recorded transactions within five months during closed alpha.
Tariq and Khan, it added, had been "involved in the rapid growth of Pakistan’s startup ecosystem over the last decade, having worked with and trained over a thousand small businesses over the years".
"Both of them were partners in venture capital funds before making a switch to the operator side," the press release stated, adding that they had also worked with startups in other emerging and frontier markets including Bangladesh, Nepal, Iraq, Myanmar and Vietnam.
Their third co-founder and chief technology officer, Dr Habiba, holds a Phd in machine learning and artificial intelligence.
The press release quoted her as saying, "There are over 30m SMBs and startups in the MENAP region, contributing $2 trillion to the region’s GDP (gross domestic product)."
"However, most founders are held hostage by their fear of numbers and cannot afford high-quality accountants. Current accounting software solutions are either cost prohibitive or are designed for accountants to use, not founders," she pointed out. "As a result, their businesses suffer and fail to grow."
The co-founder said, "Metric lets you take control of your company’s finances and get access to real-time dashboards, professional reports and insights from day one — in a very conversational, friendly way."
"This is not a cashbook or ledger app; this is an accounting and business intelligence solution that founders can start using on day one of their business, all the way up to 50 employees. Our goal is to make Metric the most founder-friendly business finance app in the world,” she added.
Early-stage founders could start using the app for free so that they don’t need to worry about spending resources on accounting while striving to get their business off the ground, the press release said, adding that as their businesses grew, they could graduate to the paid version which would give them access to "fully digitised, auditable accounts".
In this respect, Khan said, “We want founders to use accounting as a tool to drive growth. Metric monitors the health of your businesses in real-time."
"Not only does it track core metrics such as CAC (customer acquisition cost), AOV (average order value), CLV (customer lifetime value), growth and retention — it proactively helps business owners make strategic decisions that enable them to take their business to the next level," he explained. "This is the modern way of doing accounting. Traditional accounting is a cost centre. Modern accounting is a profit centre.”
'App will solve challenges faced by millions'
After the company raised the funding, i2i Ventures co-founder Kalsoom Lakhani said: "I’ve been lucky to have worked closely and alongside both Meenah and Omar [during] the past seven years in the Pakistan startup space. They both not only care deeply about the problem, they’ve also been close to it, and have designed a solution with the user at the centre."
"We are so honoured to back them and Metric, which we know will solve the challenges faced by millions of SMBs in Pakistan and the region,” the press release quoted her as saying.
Faaez ul Haq, partner at Kinnow Capital, said Metric was going to make bookkeeping and managing finances as easy for SMB founders as it was for large companies with dedicated accounting teams.
"This is an acute pain point for small business owners today and the Metric team is perfectly positioned to solve this with their deep accounting and finance background and a tech-forward approach. We are thrilled to partner with them on this journey," he said.
Rayan Dawud, investment partner at Outliers Venture Capital, pointed out that globally SMBs and startups were challenged by "backend operations that don’t fall within their founders’ core competencies".
"We’re thrilled to partner with Meenah and Omar and support Metric’s growth across the MENAP region as they build a platform that enables companies’ day-to-day operations while also equipping business owners with tools for proactive decision-making,” he added.
According to Shehryar Hydri, partner at Deosai Ventures, Metric "is one of those rare platforms that lets you start using it with minimal effort and then organically provides you extremely powerful tools to grow your business and mature as a manager".
"It's intuitive to use and could easily become the secret sauce for transforming the quality of MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) around the world,” he said.