LAHORE: SadaPay, a Pakistani FinTech startup, has announced raising $7.2 million in the recent seed round, totalling its funding to $9.3 million since its inception in 2019.
The Islamabad-headquartered fintech SadaPay announced that the new funding comes on the heels of accelerating consumer demand for SadaPay, whose waitlist is now crossing 200,000 registrations.
Earlier in January, the company launched its digital wallet and numberless debit card in its pilot phase under the supervision of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP). SadaPay employs a “neobank” business model using the Electronic Money Institution (EMI) license framework recently released by the regulator.
Recharge Capital led the round with participation from existing investor Kingsway Capital, Jim Pallotta’s Raptor Group, and a roster of notable fintech angels, including Uala Founder Pierpaolo Barbieri, Ribbit Capital General Partner Brian McGrath, ex-General Catalyst/Soros Fund Management, and Valon Technologies Founder Andrew Wang.
According to the company, Pakistan is the fifth most populous country globally with over 220 million people, but it has the third-largest unbanked population after China and India. In a statement SadaPay’s CEO and founder, Brandon Timinsky said, “Pakistan has a refreshingly progressive regulator, a burgeoning unbanked middle class, widespread smartphone adoption, and over 70 per cent of the population is under the age of 35. We believe that a combination of factors makes Pakistan one of the best places for emerging fintech in the world and we are excited to be a leader in that ecosystem.”
SadaPay plans to take advantage of the nearly one million smartphones coming online in Pakistan every month through its mobile app that allows users to sign up for a wallet account in under two minutes and immediately start using a SadaPay Virtual Mastercard. Because SadaPay is directly connected to Pakistan’s National Database & Registration Authority (NADRA), it can instantly verify any Pakistani’s identity from anywhere in the world – including the 15 million Pakistani expatriates living abroad.
Since SadaPay does not bear the high costs of managing the physical infrastructure of traditional banks, it passes those savings to its customers in the form of free financial services. The company will generate revenues from premium product offerings such as merchant services and remittances.
SBP is formalising its own framework for a digital bank license, which SadaPay hopes to adopt in the near future. “Working with such forward-thinking regulators at the State Bank of Pakistan and collaborating with the Payment Systems Department has been a phenomenal experience,” Brandon remarked.