Bus ride-hailing service Airlift has raised an impressive $10 million in seed financing, taking its total investment to $24.1m, its co-founder and CEO Usman Gul said in a statement.
"At a time of mass turbulence in capital markets, Airlift’s Series A-1 round marks one of the largest capital investments in the region," Gul said in a statement posted on Medium. "We are thrilled to partner with investors who share our vision for building decentralised platforms to introduce easier, faster and more efficient ways of moving people and goods around urban ecosystems."
The investment round was led by San Francisco-based Quiet Capital and also included TrueSight Ventures (London), RT Ventures (London), Shorooq Partners (Abu Dhabi), and ACE Capital (Taiwan), as well as local investors. The startup's previous investors, First Round Capital (San Francisco), Fatima Gobi Ventures (Pakistan) and Indus Valley Capital (Pakistan), chipped in as well.
Gul also announced Airlift's new venture into grocery delivery, called Airlift Grocer which is "a 45-minute delivery service for all household essentials".
“In the last few months, we have streamlined our processes so much that we now have the capability to deliver groceries within 45 minutes and with high order accuracy,” Airlift Technologies’ Executive Director, Syed Mehr Haider, told Profit.
Airlift, which started its decentralised mass transit operations just 11 months ago, had raised $12m in investments in November last year by leading investors in what was Pakistan’s largest Series-A round for a start-up.
It started off as a smart bus service that offers stop-to-stop public transport services on selected routes across Lahore and Karachi. It was founded last year by Gul, along with five other partners, using $50,000 pooled in by himself and family.
The bus ride-hailing service had suspended its operations in March, when the novel coronavirus started to spread in the country, leading provincial governments to impose restrictions on public transport.
"Given the Covid-19 threat, Airlift is committed to keeping our transit operations on pause until the situation stabilises. Our team is excited to resume transit operations once the worst of the pandemic is behind us," Gul said in his statement.