Finja, a Pakistani fintech startup, has raised $1.5 million in a Series A funding round. It is the brainchild of three seasoned entrepreneurs of Pakistan: Monis Rehman, Qasif Shahid and Umer Munawar. Finja is mostly known for its mobile wallet application called SimSim which is first of its kind in Pakistan.
The latest Series A funding round was lead by Vostok Emerging Finance, a Stockholm based investment firm which also invested in Finja last year as a convertible note. Gray Mackenzie Engineering Services, a Descon company, was also a participant in this funding round.
“In a few short months, our dream of digitizing payments in Pakistan through zero transaction fees is becoming a reality”, said Qasif Shahid, CoFounder and CEO of Finja.
According to Finja, they have gained 80,000 account in a short time span of a few months since their public launch. Over the months they have partnered with various events, restaurants and cinemas to offer exclusive discounts. They claim that their app have had transactions of about Rs. 1.5 billion so far through peer-to-peer payments, mobile top-ups and bill payments.
“This financing round by notable international and local investors is a strong vote of confidence for our early traction and the potential of the Pakistani market” added Monis Rahman Co-Founder and Chairman of Finja.
The most impressive part of this news is that a major foreign player invested in a local startup which will vastly improve the confidence of other investors who are monitoring Pakistan’s market.
David Nangle, partner at Vostok Emerging Finance said, “We are delighted to participate again in Finja’s Series A and are very pleased with the execution of the team in this large untapped high barrier to entry market.”
Finja and its founders still have a long way to go as AliBaba is rumored to be partnering up with Telenor Bank to presumably convert their product, EasyPaisa, into some form of AliPay. With a huge player like AliBaba stepping into the market, it will surely be an uphill battle for Finja but an interesting one as well.