- As half of Pakistan’s population is female, it is striking that the bank account representation for women is only 7%.
- Oraan is ready to launch other financial products that will enable the company to become the country’s first women-first digital, social bank.
- The company boasts a community of over 10,000 savers, including 84% women, from more than 170 cities.
Oraan, Pakistan’s first fintech featuring gender, has raised $ 3 million in the largest seed funding closed by a local women-led startup.
According to a statement from the startup in this regard, the funding round was led by Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners with the participation of Resolution Ventures, i2i Ventures, Hustle Fund, Haitou Global, Plug and Play and notable angels such as Claire Diaz -Ortiz – a former partner at Magma Partners – who has also come on board as a consultant for the company.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar also praised the start. On Twitter, he wrote:
“It is great to see that Pakistani women are also making their mark in the start-up space. Initiatives like Oraan, which are improving the economic inclusiveness of women, would have a major impact on key strategic goals such as women’s empowerment and increasing savings rate.”
Previously, Oraan had raised funding from Tharros, Zayn Capital, an angel syndicate led by Google executives, and Graph Ventures, bringing its total funding to just over $ 4 million.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal, a former investment banker and Farwah Tapal, a design strategist. Focusing on gender-specific innovation, Oraan designed products and services related to credit, insurance and savings in Pakistan’s home to 5% of the world’s female population without a bank.
“Oraan was founded when we realized that the majority of the Pakistani people are struggling to access financial services simply because they are not designed for them,” said Halima Iqbal, CEO and founder of Oraan. “Although there is a demand among women for credit, insurance and savings services, they are not able to turn to financial institutions due to mistrust, the complexity of products and challenges around mobility.”
Oraan Committee, the flagship product of the startup, is the digital reimagination of Rotating Saving and Credit Associations (‘ROSCAs’), an age-old method of group savings and credit. ROSCAs are known as selections or beer in Pakistan and is used by 41% of the Pakistani population, with up to $ 5 billion rotating annually.
Using the Oraan app, Oraan Savers can sign up to committees that suit their needs and allow them to save with groups beyond their immediate geographic and social network.
“Having been involved with Oraan since the beginning of 2020, we are excited to lead the company’s latest round of financing to help announce native finances throughout Pakistan and the region,” said Faisal Chowdry, GP at Zayn Capital.
“Our belief is that the digitalisation of indigenous financial solutions and behaviors is the key to unlocking the fintech opportunity in Pakistan and delivering real value in terms of products to customers. In addition, one can be part of the story of the only women – led and founded fintech in Pakistan, with a goal of empowering women who are at the helm of the economy in every household, in line with our ethos in Zayn “
Today, Oraan boasts a community of over 10,000 savers, 84% of whom are women, from more than 170 cities. These women use Oraan committees to save, borrow, build emergency funds and achieve other goals such as travel and pay for education, working capital as well as medical treatments.
Based on a deep understanding of this user base, Oraan is ready to launch other financial products that will position the company to become the country’s first women-first digital, social bank.
“With half of Pakistan’s more than 200 million inhabitants being women, it is striking that the penetration of bank accounts to women in the country is only 7%, making the gender gap in banking access in Pakistan one of the most serious in the world, “said Gavin Lee, General Partner at Wavemaker Partners in Southeast Asia.
“We believe that designing a women-friendly financial product that helps women access the banking system, and in turn gives them access to credit, insurance and investment, is one of the most critical ways to promote sustainable economic growth in Pakistan. on.”
The latest round of funding will be used to accelerate Oran’s expansion into other products with its extremely sticky user base.
The Oraan app can be downloaded from:
Play Store: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.oraan.android
App store: https://apps.apple.com/pk/app/oraan/id1479970322
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