Two years ago, a group of entrepreneurs in Pakistan began surveying the market to understand why financial services weren’t reaching the majority of merchants in the world’s fifth most populous nation.
Tiger Global said it is backing its startup, CreditBook, to help address those challenges. This is the New York-headquartered firm’s first investment in Pakistan.
A number of other investors, including Better Tomorrow Ventures, Firstminute Capital, Banana Capital, VentureSouq, Ratio Ventures and i2i Ventures, as well as angel investors Sriram Krishnan and Julian Shapiro also participated in the $11 million pre-Series A round. This is also Firstminute Capital’s first investment in the South Asian market.
“We started the research and began experimentation in late 2019,” said Iman Jamall, co-founder of CreditBook, in an interview with TechCrunch. “I was working as a service designer on a project for one of the largest Pakistani banks at the time and was observing different persona types to understand why financial services hadn’t made inroads in the country.”
The overreliance on paper to maintain ledgers and the always-running low cash flow is a challenge that merchants in many markets in South Asia and Southeast Asia share. As we previously covered, often these small businesses run on informal credit and rely on money they secure from selling their existing inventory to buy their next batch. The customers buy things for weeks and sometimes months before they clear the tab.