Bookme, Pakistan’s leading e-ticketing platform with over 4.6 million registered customers in the transportation and the entertainment industry has raised around $7.5 million in Series A funding round.
Travel and ticketing platform similar to Traveloka in Indonesia, Bookme.pk provides customers with online bookings for intercity buses, airlines, hotels and events in Pakistan.
The round was co-led by seed investor Lakson Venture Capital (LVC), Zayn Capital and UAE-based Hayaat Global with participation from MENA based BY Ventures and Jabbar Internet Group, New York based Millville Opportunities and Silicon-Valley based Mentor’s Fund.
Faizan Aslam, CEO & Founder of Bookme, expressed his views:
Our focus at Bookme has always been the customer experience. With this mind we have created a fully integrated platform that allows customers to seamlessly make bookings with the click of a button. We digitised the paper-based transport and travel sector in Pakistan to create a plug and play distribution system that inter-connects reservation systems of intercity buses, domestic & international airlines, hotels and events.
In our view, making the overall experience cashless through APIs to enable Super App payment applications was an integral part of completing the digital experience.”
With the highest number of day-to-day digital transactions for banks and payment gateways, Bookme is Pakistan's first cashless platform. To help ensure a transparent, easy, and efficient e-ticketing system in Pakistan, Bookme has partnered with the nation's leading mobile wallet platform to offer its customers BNPL services, which leverage historical data and spending patterns of over six million customers.
Due to massive infrastructure investments over the last five years, the road infrastructure and connectivity in Pakistan has improved on an unprecedented scale, resulting in significant growth of the intercity bus segment. In addition, large urban cities in Pakistan house a significant number of rural migrants, resulting in a high demand for bus travel for their work commute.
Babar Lakhani, Managing Partner of Lakson Venture Capital, commented:
Bookme is led by an exceptional team with a clear vision which has enabled it to scale rapidly and dominate the travel and ticketing market in Pakistan. We are thrilled to continue to invest in Bookme and firmly believe that the Series A funding will allow Bookme to expand its operations, increase its market share and transform the travel and ticketing space in the country."
Faisal Aftab, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital Frontier Fund, stated:
From its seed stage to its scaling into one of Pakistan's leading booking platforms, we have been following Bookme's progress. We’re extremely proud to be a continued part of their journey as we believe that this team is capable of building a Unicorn.”
Increasing demand for buses is also due to cost efficiency and shorter travel distances in densely populated provinces such as Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. With domestic tourism and entertainment on the rise over the past few years, the 82 million-strong middle class, made up largely of Millennials and Generation Z, has contributed to the increase in demand for buses, airlines, hotels and entertainment venues.
Mohammed Ikhlaq, Director of Hayaat Global SFO DMCC, believes:
Bookme has one of the most robust e-ticketing platforms because of its focused approach and customer centricity. Under Faizan's inspired leadership, this stellar team has shown their market nous with unique, compelling offerings and partnerships that have supercharged its trajectory. We are delighted to play a role in their growth story and plans, and we fully expect them to continue scaling new peaks as the digital economy deepens in Pakistan.”
Over 300 million dollars have been raised by Pakistani startups so far in 2021. The country has leapfrogged in internet users from 20 million in 2015 to more than 100 million in 2021. Platforms like Bookme.pk are poised to scale rapidly as one of the most prominent local use cases for this emerging digital economy.
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What will the investors get in return of 7.5 million It seems companies with excessive liquidity are gambling in emerging markets. Many of the startups have no strong foundations business viability and future profitability. At the moment it has become a race of throwing money.