Airlift is back to the market with a $85 million funding

Airlift Pakistan, an up-and-coming start-up, has faced many problems, especially once the pandemic hit. But currently, the e-commerce start-up is trying to make it as a business giant through mega funding. The company currently operates its services of quick commerce in eight cities across Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad. Users can purchase online groceries, fresh fruits and vegetables, and other necessities, such as medications and sports equipment, and have them delivered in 30 minutes.

On Wednesday, the startup announced that it had raised up to $85 million in its Series B funding round, valued at $275 million. The investment round, which is by far the largest for a Pakistani business, was co-led by Harry Stebbings of 20VC and Josh Buckley of Buckley Ventures.

Sam Altman, who is the previous Y Combinator president, as well as the co-founder of Twitter and Medium Biz Stone, Steve Pagliuca, who is the co-chairman of Bain Capital, Jeffrey Katzenberg, who is known as the ex-CEO of Disney and Quibi, and the founder as well as CEO of TransferWise Taavet Hinrikus, all of these greats participated in the new round, which brings the startup’s total funding to up to $110 million.

In the new round, the co-founder of DoorDash, founder and chief executives of Rappi as well as  Postmates, Quiet Capital, and Indus Valley Capital also participated.

The transit business of Airlift started as a service quite similar to Uber but through air-conditioned buses. Though it gained a lot of attention in the beginning, with many students and office goers trusting the ride-sharing app, this growth was largely disrupted due to COVID-19. Ever since then, the owners of the app started an express delivery service for groceries, on a similar business plan as Pandamart by FoodPanda, and this has again led to success for the company. Although the initial stages of their delivery services were limited to certain areas, the idea has expanded over the months to several cities across Pakistan, as discussed above.

According to Usman Gul, who is the founder as well as the Chief Executive of Airlift, this is just the first step towards the journey of success for the service commerce start-up, and it can help the company scale its delivery platform across continents. “This entire space of quick commerce is on the brink of a global transformation. Airlift is in the forefront for leading that transformation in Asia and Africa,” said Mr. Gul.

This is definitely a big win for Airlift as well as for Pakistan, and we sure hope the start-up makes a name for itself internationally.

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Zahra Rehman

Social science undergrad and amateur artist who has a soft spot for cats, dogs and philosophy.

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