Oraan, a Karachi based fintech startup, raised USD 3 million in the latest funding round co-led by Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners on 27 September 2021.
Investors: Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners co-led the latest funding round with participation from Resolution Ventures, Plug and play, i2i Ventures, Hustle Fund, Haitou Global, and angel investors like Claire Diaz-Oritz, Sajid Rahman, and Omar Darwazah also contributed in this round.
The Objectives behind the funding: The company plans to deploy the latest proceeds to scale up its operations and expand into more financial services. It will contribute to the company’s plan to become a women-first digital bank.
Founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, Oraan is Pakistan’s first women-led, women-first fintech startup that creates alternative financial solutions to empower the underserved. The startup has designed products and services encompassing credit, insurance, and savings in Pakistan. The startup’s flagship product, Oraan Committees, is the digital reimagination of Rotating Saving and Credit Associations (ROSCAs) – an age-old group saving and credit method.
What the Founder has to say:
“Oraan was founded when we realised that the large majority of the Pakistani population struggles to access financial services simply because they are not designed for them.” Halima Iqbal, CEO.
“Generally in Pakistan, there is no concept of credit scoring, and that’s why financial inclusion or access to liquidity becomes a problem,” Tapal, Co-Founder, said. “We want to become a full-fledged neobank and very heavily based on the community because that’s where we see that women want a sense of belonging. When it comes to financial transactions, that’s one of the things they feel they lack, that sense of belonging.”
What the Investors have to say:
Speaking on occasion, Faisal Chowdry of Zayn Capital said, “Having been involved with Oraan since early 2020, we are excited to co-lead Oraan’s latest funding round to help promulgate indigenous finance across Pakistan and in the region. Our belief is that the digitisation of indigenous finance solutions and behaviours is the key to unlocking the fintech opportunity in Pakistan and providing real utility in terms of product for customers.” “Being able to be a part of the story of the only women-led and founded fintech in Pakistan, with a goal of empowering women who sit at the financial helm of every household, fits with our ethos at Zayn,“ he added.
Gavin Lee, a general partner at Wavemaker Partners in Southeast Asia, said, “With half of Pakistan’s 200+ million population being female, it is striking that bank account penetration for women in the country stands at just seven per cent, making the gender gap in banking access in Pakistan one of the most serious in the world.” “We believe that designing a female-friendly financial product to help women access the banking system, and in turn allow them to access credit, insurance, and investment, is one of the most critical ways to promote sustainable economic growth in Pakistan,” he added.
The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) launched a gender mainstreaming policy titled “ Banking on Equality: Reducing the Gender Gap in Financial Inclusion” to reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion and improve women’s access to financial services. Oraan’s mission aligns with the country’s mission to reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion and enhance women’s empowerment, giving them access to entrepreneurial opportunities through having a formal bank account.
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