Pakistani messaging platform TelloTalk raises $1.6m seed capital

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TelloTalk, a Pakistan-based messaging platform, has raised $1.6 million in seed funding from a consortium of international and local investors.

Those who participated in the round included UAE-based ALM Holdings, Asian accelerator SparkLabs Fintech, US-based One Market Capital, Hong Kong-based Cocoon Ignite Ventures, and Pakistani venture capital firms, i2i Ventures and TPL e-Ventures.

According to a statement, TelloTalk will invest the capital in expanding user acquisition, engagement, activation. It will also invest in scaling its infrastructure and product development.

TelloTalk Co-Founder and CEO Shahbaz Jamote commented on the occasion, “We are delighted to have experienced foreign and local venture capital investors believe in us and support our mission. Pakistanis have a choice in messaging apps – TelloTalk is the single best local messaging app, customized for Pakistanis, fully committed to Pakistan, with all our technology and management infrastructure present in Pakistan.

“TelloTalk understands our local culture and values, for example we provide our users with regional language keyboard, localized stickers and integrated content across a variety of categories. TelloTalk is also available to corporations of all sizes, for productivity improvement, internal communications or customer interactions via multimedia chat channels. It is the only messaging app that fully complies with local regulations to enable critical services such as digital payments and eGovernment. We look forward to adding even more services and have even more Pakistanis enjoying TelloTalk with their friends and families.”

TelloTalk Chairman Arshad Ashraf added, “With 150 million Pakistanis below the age of 30, it makes sense to digital connect the unconnected in Pakistan with a technology they are comfortable using. We strongly believe it is a matter of national importance to have a social networking platform that we can truly call our own. At TelloTalk, we aspire to digitize the economy of Pakistan and unleash the incredible creativity and talent of our nation’s youth.”

Sameer Chishty, who led the seed round as partner at SparkLabs FinTech, stated, “In our experience, localized messaging platforms can be highly successful in nations that have large populations, with strong cultures, and well defined digital borders. Just like WeChat in China and KakaoTalk in Korea TelloTalk is uniquely positioned to be that app for Pakistan with a hyper-localized messaging platform that enables connectivity, content sharing, commerce, and corporate services.

“SparkLabs globally has made almost 300 investments in tech startups; this will be our 4th in Pakistan. We are honored to be part of the TelloTalk journey and supporting Pakistan’s rapid digital driven economic growth.”

“With 15 years of experience in mobile communications, the TelloTalk team is uniquely positioned to build a national messaging platform,” remarked Usman Sheikh, CEO of Auj Technologies and a Board Director of TelloTalk. “Not only do we have a passionate team of entrepreneurs building this robust platform but we are also blessed with the combined wisdom of an excellent group of global investors backing this exciting venture.”

For most of the international investors participating in the seed round, this will be their first investment in Pakistan. The funds raised are being planned to be deployed for marketing & advertising, infrastructure expansion and product development.

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