Prime minister hails startup Airlift securing $85 million in Series B financing
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday welcomed the investment of $85 million in Airlift, a Lahore-based public transit service that switched to an online shopping delivery model after the coronavirus pandemic suspended transport services nationwide last year.
Secured through Series B financing—a technical term for a company that has achieved a certain number of milestones beyond initial startup—the investment marks the largest single private funding round in Pakistan’s history.
“We welcome the recent investment of $85 million by leading VCs [venture capitalists] of the world in Airlift, a company led by young Pakistanis,” posted Khan on Twitter. “Pakistan has huge potential and we are open for business,” he continued. “My government is fully committed to creating opportunities,” he added.
In a subsequent post on its official Twitter account, Airlift thanked the prime minister for informing the public about the milestone, claiming it would would pave the way for more investments in Pakistani startups.
In a statement, Airlift Technologies Co-founder and CEO Usman Gul said the financing would add five percent to Pakistan’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 $85 million in Series B financing to scale our delivery platform across continents,” he said.
“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 added.
Azhar Mashwani, Punjab chief minister’s focal person for digital media, hailed the achievement, pointing out that investment in Pakistani startups between 2015 and 2020 had totaled $170 million, while it had hit $193 million in 2021 alone.