Pakistani startup Rider bags $2.3 million in seed funding round led by Global Founders Capital, Fatima Gobi Ventures and Asian Development Bank, to drive Pakistan’s growing logistics and e-commerce markets

Rider, a tech-led last-mile delivery partner for e-commerce retailers, has raised US$2.3 million in a seed round led by venture capital (VC) firm Global Founders Capital, Fatima Gobi Ventures, and Asian Development Bank. TPL E-Ventures and Transhold also participated.

The Karachi-based B2B2C service was launched in 2019 by Salman Allana, who was previously head of the strategy and business development at UPS Pakistan and assistant vice president at Citi Bank.

Today, Rider boasts coverage in over 80 cities across Pakistan, with shipper clients including Pakistan’s top five online retailers such as Khaadi and Daraz. The startup’s 500-strong delivery agent fleet which is easily scalable at peak times has thus far delivered more than 1.5 million e-commerce parcels across Pakistan with a market-leading success rate of 93%.

Rider’s exponential growth in just two years is thanks to its ability to weave global best practice technology and process innovation into its delivery cycles, building real-time connectivity between its shippers, delivery agents, and customers.

Today, Rider’s app-based platforms, route optimization, live tracking, live scheduling, and highly automated warehousing put the logistics tech startup at the forefront of Pakistan’s burgeoning last-mile delivery space.

Market-leading offerings such as 24-hour cash repayment, 1-day lead time, ‘Cash Now, Deliver Later’, and high overall delivery success rate has made Rider the preferred last-mile delivery partner of national shippers and Pakistan’s growing online SME community.

Salman Allana, Founder, and CEO of Rider, said:

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“We’re excited about the investors we have onboard – they collectively bring unparalleled logistics industry expertise and emerging markets exposure. Their capital injection will enable Rider’s plans to expand our network and integrate our proven last-mile service into other key parts of the value chain.

“Ultimately, we want to build an end-to-end e-commerce logistics solution, complete with e-commerce enablement. Our vision is to be the number one logistics solutions provider for Pakistan’s e-commerce needs,” he said.

Rising e-commerce demand drives logistics growth

As a result of accelerated digitization driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan’s e-commerce market is projected to record a compound annual growth rate of 16%, reaching US$10 billion by 2025.

The logistics market, a key cog that supports Pakistan’s e-commerce growth, is incredibly fragmented, with traditional players and second or third-generation startups competing for a share of the high-volume, operationally-driven industry.

Salman recounted: “When we launched Rider, only 80-85% of deliveries in Pakistan were making it to the customers’ doorsteps, translating millions of dollars lost, operational inefficiencies and frustrated shippers and customers. Our tech has improved this, while our operations identify and solve the underlying causes behind these stats. For instance, Rider’s in-house delivery agent behavioral analysis and geo-tagging processes help eradicate fake delivery attempts.”

Experienced regional investors with industry know-how

Fatima Gobi Ventures, Global Founders Capital, and Asian Development Bank are experienced investors in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, having backed successful startups in the e-commerce and logistics spaces.

Fatima Gobi Ventures (FGV) is a joint venture between Pakistan conglomerate Fatima Ventures and pan-Asian VC Gobi Partners. FGV’s strong combination of Fatima Ventures’ local expertise and Gobi Partners’ regional know-how has helped the VC spot first movers and get ahead of key trends. FGV portfolio companies include logistics and quick commerce startup Airlift, trucking marketplace Truck It In, e-commerce payments startup Safepay, and B2B marketplace Tajir.

Ali Mukhtar, General Partner for FGV, said:

“We are excited to join Rider’s journey towards building a tech-driven end-to-end logistics solution for Pakistan and the region. Rider’s belief that ‘technology moves everything’ has already raised the bar on delivery lead times, cash repayment cycles, and delivery success rates in Pakistan’s logistics industry. With so many customer-centric and problem-solving solutions on the horizon, we cannot wait to see how far Rider’s tech offerings will go in supporting Pakistan’s e-commerce growth ambitions.”

Global Founders Capital invests in startups that disrupt existing markets or create new ones. Its portfolio investments in Pakistan include Truck It In, Safepay, and the online marketplace Bazaar.

Jay Lim, Venture Partner at Global Founders Capital, said:

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“GFC believes that Pakistan’s startup scene is primed to grow rapidly in the next few years, especially within the commerce space. We have invested in a number of founders in Pakistan recently and will invest in more in the coming year. Founders like Salman from Rider will play one of the most important roles in developing last-mile logistics as well as the entire logistic infrastructure necessary to propel Pakistan’s commerce forward.”

The venture arm of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), ADB Ventures invests in early-stage technology companies globally that address urgent development challenges in emerging Asia and the Pacific. In Pakistan, ADB Ventures has backed B2B e-commerce startup Dastgyr.

Minsoo Kim, the Investment Specialist at ADB, said:

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“ADB Ventures is thrilled to partner with Salman and his team to help Rider become the leading last-mile delivery platform in Pakistan. Rider’s tech-driven

and user-centric solution has the potential to significantly improve the efficiency and reliability of Pakistan’s fast-growing e-commerce logistics sector while delivering both substantial costs as well as fuel savings.”

Rider recently rolled a new Cash Now, Deliver Later product that enables shippers to get advanced payments for their e-commerce sales. The startup has also piloted a B2B trucking service, which would give Rider better visibility and control over end-to-end logistics operations.

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