Lahore-based transportation startup, Airlift has secured $12 million in Series A financing.
According to the release statement, this is the largest Series A investment ever raised by a Pakistani startup and it also marks one of the largest financings in South Asia this year and the first time that a US-based VC has led an investment round in Pakistan.
The financing is led by First Round Capital, a leading US venture capital firm with notable investments in Uber, Square, Roblox, Looker, and Notion.
Founded by Usman Gul, Ahmed Ayub, Awaab Khaakwany, Meher Farrukh, Muhammad Owais, and Zohaib Ali earlier this year, Airlift comes as a reliable alternative to public transportation, offering premium vans and buses in Karachi and Lahore. The app-based service with hundreds of vehicles in its network offers fixed times and routes in two cities.
”Airlift is spearheading the third wave of ride-sharing, in which higher capacity vehicles are playing an increasing role in enabling urban commute. With this financing, Airlift is looking to invest in technology and operations to scale its vision for a decentralized mass transit system, initially focusing on the developing world,” said the statement
“In the future, mass transit systems will be dynamic in nature, catering and adapting to the changing needs of the urban population. Our vision for a decentralized mass transit system is a new concept, one that will fundamentally redefine how people commute in urban centers,” says Usman Gul, Airlift’s co-founder and CEO.
Prior to moving to Pakistan, Gul previously worked at DoorDash, the largest food delivery platform in the US. Tony Xu, Founder/CEO at DoorDash, which was valued at $12.6 billion in the last round, was among the first few angel investors to support Airlift.
In August, just five months after launching operations, Airlift closed seed financing of $2.2 million with Indus Valley Capital and the Fatima Gobi Ventures co-leading the round.
In October, only two months later, the company secured Series A financing, increasing its total capital to $14.1 million and setting a new precedent for startups based in Asia.