Pakistan based Financial Wellness Platform, Abhi Finalizes $17M Series A

Abhi, which claims to be Pakistan’s “first-ever” financial wellness platform, enabling employees to access accrued salary in advance, recently announced the completion of a $17 million Series A raise.

As noted in an update shared with CI, the fund raise was led by VC  firm Speedinvest and supported by Global Ventures, VentureSouq, VEF, Sturgeon Capital, Rallycap and FJ Labs.

Also taking part in the investment round were regional VC firms and existing investors, Fatima Gobi, Sarmayacar and i2i Ventures.

Proceeds from the raise will be channeled towards helping address the customer demand, expand Abhi’s professional team – employee headcount has increased from 15 in November 2021 to 48, and further build out marketing capabilities.

As noted in the update, Abhi’s steady growth has continued since its inception. The firm now claims to be “cash flow positive,” and Total Payment Values processed have scaled steadily.

Abhi reportedly works with various companies, such as household names like Cnergyico, Soorty, Din Group, Agha Steel and United King.

Abhi has teamed up with two of the biggest banks in Pakistan – United Bank Limited and Bank Alfalah – and has also expanded its product offering to business financing, meaning it is now B2B and B2C.

As with most nations, Pakistan’s SME base “is c. 85% of the economy, meaning the expansion of Abhi’s business model is a significant commercial opportunity considerably greater than the company’s initial target market.”

This “is testament to Abhi’s momentum to date, positive word of mouth, and brand strength.”

Although the market opportunity in Pakistan is large enough to be Abhi’s primary focus, the company will “explore the possibility of international expansion, as and when the opportunity arises.”

Omair Ansari, Chief Executive Officer of Abhi, stated:

“We are delighted to announce this $17 million funding round, especially with the caliber of investors involved. The backing of Speedinvest, plus the continued support from other leading VC firms, is a testament to our platform, business model and the hard work of our team. We have grown rapidly since inception in July 2021 and our momentum has opened up a significant B2B opportunity. All sizes of companies and their employees want the services we provide. The proceeds will support our exponential growth, and help us meet customer demand.”

Stefan Klestil, General Partner at Speedinvest, remarked:

“Payroll has long been one of the strongest indicators of financial health, whether that be at the business or the personal level. Abhi’s unique insight and payroll integration perfectly positions them to build effective financial services both for employers and employees alike. With Omair and Ali spearheading this movement, Abhi has the potential to change millions of lives across MENA and South Asia. It’s no wonder they have been able to establish themselves as one of the fastest-growing Pakistani startups.”

Sacha Haider, Partner at Global Ventures, added:

“We are super excited to be participating in Abhi’s latest fundraise and to continue our support for Omair and Ali. Abhi was our first investment in Pakistan and the market opportunity remains a significant one. We see Earned Wage Access as a powerful tool to enable financial wellness for the workforce, giving people access to liquidity and autonomy to meet their financial goals and obligations. We can already see the positive impact Abhi is already having on communities and are looking forward to supporting Abhi’s future growth.”

Established last year by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi’s objective is “to tackle financial stress by enabling employees to meet their financial obligations without exposure to debt traps – but also to benefit employers.”

For employers, the platform “has zero costs involved – thus avoiding any impact on the payroll cycle or cashflow.”

For employees, pre-Abhi, options for cash access “were three-fold: company-based salary advances which was a lengthy process, credit cards or loans from financial institutions, the latter two of which were both lengthy and expensive.”

With Abhi, employees now “avoid expensive alternatives and lead time as Abhi’s platform provides rapid access to accrued salary in advance, both interest-free and Shariah compliant.”

Employees make “an advance salary request using Abhi’s app or website, and funds are deposited into the employee’s account of choice, with automatic deductions on the next payroll – eliminating any overspending risk.”

Abhi is “not a just a B2C company, or a company dealing with only large corporates. It also helps organizations such as SMEs, with working capital needs.”

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