Pakistan-based fintech platform NayaPay has raised $13 million in one of the largest seed rounds in South Asia.
NayaPay is the first fintech of its kind in Pakistan, having recently secured the first E-Money Institution license from the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan. NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitization of Pakistan with its two-sided platform for the underbanked, making financial services simpler and accessible to millions of Pakistani users.
Pakistan presents a significant market opportunity for NayaPay, where over 50 million adults are unbanked and only 33% of women have a bank account. With 70% of the population under 35 years old, there is a significant mobile-first generation. Almost $4tn payments are made each year but only 1% of these are made digitally currently. On the merchant side, the majority of SMBs in Pakistan are unregistered, have traditionally dealt primarily in cash, and have very limited access to business banking.
The fintech has launched its chat-led app targeted primarily at students and freelancers, and is building a SaaS based platform called NayaPay Arc which will offer universal payment acceptance and financial management tools for SMBs. The strategy aims to harness the network effects between consumers and merchants, as seen in platforms such as Square Cash/Square, WeChat Pay, AliPay and Venmo in their native markets.
NayaPay CEO and Founder Danish A. Lakhani said: “NayaPay is empowering young Pakistani adults starting their financial journey, from students stepping into adulthood to freelancers and entrepreneurs taking an active role in managing their finances. Micro, small and medium businesses make up 90% of the merchant-base in Pakistan and yet they are underserved when it comes to access to basic financial services. NayaPay Arc will provide universal payments acceptance and a range of business financial management tools to empower entrepreneurs and small business owners. The tools are intended to give business owners the visibility of their cash flows, pay suppliers and grow sales.”
Faisal Aftab, Managing Partner and Co-Founder at investor Zayn Capital Fronteir, said: “While just beginning to emerge, Pakistani fintechs have the advantage of learning from peers and placing better informed strategic bets. We were impressed by the completeness of the vision of the founding team at NayaPay, and their differentiated platform-based strategy-- first focused on servicing the needs of underbanked consumers and SMBs with specific use cases and building out from there.”