Pakistan-based MSME-focused cash flow management platform Udhaar Book has raised US$6 million in seed funding to digitise credit in retail shops in Pakistan.
The funding was raised from Fatima Gobi Ventures, Muir Capital (by Plaid co-founder William Hockey and other partners), Tinder co-founder Justin Mateen’s venture firm JAM Fund, Integra Partners and Commerce Ventures, Bloomberg reported.
The funding will be used to build out Udhaar Book’s app offerings. The Y Combinator-backed company was founded last year by Fahad Kamr, Shah Warraich, and Myra Ali.
Udhaar Book is digitising Pakistan’s informal system of consumer credit
The word ‘udhaar’ means a loan or a borrowing. It is an informal system of credit in Pakistan and elsewhere in South Asia, where MSMEs (such as local grocery stores) let their customers make purchases on credit. Book-keeping is done manually.
Books are usually stored at the store, in a “wooden cash drawer,” as Kamr points out.
“So small business owners typically work 16-hour days to monitor this drawer and minimise theft. Solving this problem requires digitising all manual elements of the business, while making the transition as seamless as possible for the already busy business owner,”
Dawn cited co-founder Kamr as saying.
Udhaar Book’s solution helps to digitise this book-keeping system, while also offering services in the space of inventory and invoice management, amongst others. Through the app, MSMEs can record outstanding debt, and send auto reminders to customers for collection.
Users can also access daily, weekly, and monthly reports. Udhaar Book has accumulated 1.4 million registered users, of which over half a million are monthly active users, the Bloomberg report said.
Other startups operating in this space in Pakistan include CreditBook, mKhata, DigiKhata and Bazaar.
According to a 2016 report, MSMEs represent over 90% of Pakistan’s businesses, contributing 30% to the country’s GDP.
Featured image: edited from Unsplash