Lahore (Muhammad Yasir) Lahore based Bookme.pk announced today that it has closed a $7.5 Mn Series A funding round. Bookme is a travel and ticketing platform similar to Traveloka in Indonesia, providing customers with online bookings for Intercity Buses, Airlines, Hotels & Events in Pakistan The round was co-led by Zayn Capital, seed investor Lakson VC 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.
“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 digitized 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.” said Faizan Aslam, CEO & Founder of Bookme. Bookme is the first completely cashless platform in Pakistan with the highest number of day-to-day digital transactions for banks and payment gateways.
Moreover, Bookme has partnered with Pakistan’s leading mobile wallet platform to offer its customers BNPL services, leveraging historical data and spending patterns for more than 6 million customers. The intercity bus segment has grown significantly in Pakistan as road infrastructure and connectivity has improved throughout the country due to massive infrastructure investments over the last 5 years. In addition, major urban cities in Pakistan have a large number of rural migrants, increasing demand for bus travel for their work-related commutes.
“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.” said Babar Lakhani, Managing Partner of Lakson Venture Capital.
“We have followed Bookme’s journey from the seed stage to see it scale into one of the leading platforms in Pakistan. We’re extremely proud to be a continued part of their journey as we believe that this team is capable of building a Unicorn.” said Faisal Aftab Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Zayn Capital Frontier Fund.
Cost efficiency and shorter travel distances in densely populated provinces of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa are also creating greater demand for buses. Moreover, the 82-million-strong middle class, composed mostly of Millennials and Generation Z are also increasing demand for buses, airlines, hotels and events as domestic tourism and entertainment has grown over the last few years.
“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.” said Mohammed Ikhlaq, Director of Hayaat Global SFO DMCC.
Pakistani startups have raised more than $300 million so far in 2021. The country has leap frogged in internet users from 20 million in 2015 to more than 100 million in 2021. Platforms like Bookme are poised to scale rapidly as one of the leading local use-cases for this emerging youthful digital economy.