Pakistan’s Truck It In has raised $13 million in early-stage funding, the largest for a logistics startup in the Middle East, North Africa and its home country.
The Karachi-based startup’s seed round is jointly led by venture capital firms Global Founders Capital and Fatima Gobi Ventures. The other investors in the round include Picus Capital, Millville, Wamda, Zayn Capital, i2i Ventures, ADB Ventures, Cianna Capital, Reflect Ventures and K3 Ventures.
Pakistan, one of the world’s largest untapped markets, is seeing a funding frenzy in startups with more than $350 million raised last year, greater than the amount raised in at least the past six years combined. The nation relies on trucks for the bulk of its transportation needs with train cargo being almost non-existent. Pakistan’s freight market represents a $25 billion annual opportunity, according to the startup.
The startup is focusing on Pakistan’s small- and medium-sized truck operators that represent 80% of the fragmented market. Drivers can end up waiting days or weeks to get an order.
“Pakistan’s trucking industry is fragmented with several intermediaries operating at various levels and presents an enormous opportunity for disruption,” said Kalsoom Lakhani, co-founder at i2i Ventures. The startup “is able to lower cost, bring in efficiencies, improve access for both shippers and truckers.”
The company, which allows truckers to connect with shippers, started two years ago. The three founders worked together at Dubai-based ride hailing company Careem Inc. It is now going on a hiring spree to double its workforce to more than 400 employees.
“There is so much low-hanging fruit,” Muhammad Sarmad Farooq, chief executive officer at Truck It In said in an interview by phone. “The company is going to grow aggressively after getting the fundamentals and infrastructure in order.”