How fintech businesses can help protect the industry’s future

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More

What are the payment technology trends that no one is talking about?

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More

Pakistan’s Abhi raises $2m in seed investment

Pakistan-based fintech, Abhi, has raised $2 million for its salary advance platform in a seed round led by Vostok Emerging Finance, it announced on Monday. Abhi will be the second Pakistani fintech to join Y Combinator’s next batch after TAG, according to a statement released by the startup.

Village Global, i2i Ventures, Sarmayacar, Zayn Capital, Portman Wills, the co-founder and CTO of Wagestream, also participated in this equity-only round.

Founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai earlier this year, this Karachi-based startup hopes to become the first financial wellness platform by aiming to change how people spend their money through its web and mobile app.

Abhi’s platform aims to enable employees of its partners to withdraw salary advances based on their accrued wages at any time. As the fintech will be funding these advances, they will have no effect on Abhi’s partner employer’s balance sheets and repayments will be deducted from the employee’s salary before it is paid by the employer.

The startup plans on targeting both corporate and blue-collar employees in Pakistan and plans to further extend its services to other markets in Africa, South Asia and GCC, according to Menabytes.

Abhi’s co-founder and former Morgan Stanley fund manager Omair Ansari also explained his motivation behind launching Abhi.

“I believe in financial inclusion and have seen/invested in companies that address this across different geographies, and never understood why Pakistan gets forgotten about in the Emerging Markets universe,” Ansari told Business Recorder.

“Credit to the consumer is what will help build the nation and we wanted to help in whatever way we could to be able to make that happen. Having had the privilege of working abroad and seeing this work, I believed it was time to give back but not just in a charitable way, but a way with tangible impact. That impact is helping with financial literacy, wellness and inclusion,” he commented.

In addition to this, fintech has shown a lot of potential in Pakistan with a spike in the number of deals within this sector in 2020 and a year-on-year increase in the average ticket size from an initial $522,000 in 2016 to $3.6 million in 2021. Furthermore, fintech startups in Pakistan have also raised more than $ 7.2 million, according to a review of startup deals in Pakistan by invest2innovate (i2i).

Co-founder Ali Ladhubhai, who had previously founded a financial comparison startup KarloCompare, also elaborates on the need for an early wage access product in Pakistan, where less than 2 million people have access to formal credit.

“We saw the need for an early wage access product that could allow them to access alternate digital finance together with a knowledge center to educate them about using personal finance responsibly and to their benefit. This is just the beginning for us. We have plans to provide a range of digital financial services to allow for customers to conduct all financial transactions from a single financial app,” Ali Ladhubhai explained, according to Menabytes.

Impressed by the support Abhi received from regulators and banks, Ansari also believes that the fintech story of Pakistan is only just beginning and has many legs to go. He explained that “everyone bashes the banks and the regulators, but both have been instrumental in our success. It’s time for fintech and banks to work together, it’s not a sum zero game. Remember our focus is to help the consumer in Pakistan, and the only way we can do that is by working together.”

Abhi also shared that it plans on using this new investment to further build its team and technology stack to be able to serve all its current and new clients. “We luckily have been able to build strong momentum, which has surpassed our expectations. We believe in building one brick at a time and not diluting our attention. So our focus will be to excel in the Early Wage Access space before looking at anything else,” said Ansari.

Read More

Pakistan’s Abhi raises $2 million seed for its salary advance platform, joins Y Combinator

Karachi-based salary advance platform Abhi has raised $2 million in a seed round led by Vostok Emerging Finance, it announced in a statement today. The equity-only round also included the participation of Village Global, Sarmayacar, i2i Ventures, Zayn Capital, and  Portman Wills, the co-founder and CTO of Wagestream, a UK-based financial wellness platform for corporate employees. The startup has also been accepted to join Y Combaintor’s upcoming batch, it states in a statement. It is the second Pakistani fintech to have been accepted for YC’s next batch.

Founded by Omair Ansari and Ali Ladhubhai earlier this year, Abhi will enable employees of its partners to withdraw their accrued wages anytime they want, through its web or mobile app. The solution that is Shariah-compliant will charge employees a small transaction fee and will be completely free for employers. It also won’t have any impact on the balance sheet of employers as advances will be funded by Abhi. The repayments and fee will automatically be deducted from an employee’s monthly salary (if they’ve taken an advance) before it gets paid by the employer.

In addition to corporate employees, Abhi also plans to serve blue-collar workers, its co-founder and CEO Omair Ansari told MENAbytes, adding that the startup will look to expand its services to markets in GCC, Africa, and South Asia, by 2023. He has previously led investments in fintech startups in emerging markets and was working as a Portfolio Manager at Morgan Stanley before starting Abhi. Omair has also served as a Strategic Advisor to Vostok Emerging Finance, the investor that led the round, from 2018 to 2020.

In a statement, he said, “We believe financial wellness and access to credit are basic human rights, which we aim to bring to all our customers. Our goal is to digitize consumer credit, address pain points in the manual payments process and be there when consumers need us most. Your wage is your right, and we want you to have access to it Abhi (“right now” in Urdu).”

Ali Ladhubhai, Abhi’s co-founder who has previously founded a financial comparison startup KarloCompare, said, “Less than 2 million people in Pakistan have access to formal credit. We saw the need for an early wage access product that could allow them to access alternate digital finance together with a knowledge center to educate them about using personal finance responsibly and to their benefit. This is just the beginning for us. We have plans to provide a range of digital financial services to allow for customers to conduct all financial transactions from a single financial app.”

The Karachi-headquartered fintech is currently conducting a three-month pilot with 20 companies in different industries – including insurance, steel manufacturing, pharmaceutical, textile, and retail, to learn insights on pain points of employees and their lending needs, and validate its product. Its app will go live later this year.

Dave Nangle, a Partner at Vostok Emerging Finance, said, “We are very excited to partner with Omair, Ali and the Abhi Team. This investment allows VEF to continue our mission of improving the financial well-being of the average Pakistani. The traditional pay cycle has tied up employees’ earned income for as long as we can remember, forcing workers to turn to overdraft, payday loans and other punishing products.”

“We hear companies talk about ‘Digital Transformation’ all the time; modernizing the pay cycle is the most fundamental transformation a company can make to its relationship with employees. It is a great scale product, a win for all involved and the cornerstone for a much broader employee financial wellness play,” he added.

Vostok Emerging Finance interestingly is also an investor in Finja, a Karachi-based fintech that offers different types of lending solutions to small businesses and individuals including salary advances.

Sarmayacar’s General Partner Dr. Bernhard Klemen, said, “The annual salaries of the urban employed labor force across 100,000 public and private companies in Pakistan is estimated to be over $65 billion yet official reports suggest that formal lending channels account for credit of just over $3 billion only, with millions of Pakistanis accessing informal channels at egregious rates. Sarmayacar believes in Abhi’s vision and is delighted to back Omair and Ali in transforming the way Pakistanis access credit and over time build the region’s leading finance wellness platform.”

Misbah Naqvi, the co-founder and General Partner of i2i Ventures, added, “Access to earned wages should be a right of all employees and we are delighted to support Omair and Ali as they launch a pioneering business in Pakistan. Fintech is an exciting space in Pakistan right now and we feel that the Abhi team has the right experience and is well-positioned to leverage this market opportunity to build Pakistan’s first financial wellness platform and broaden financial access in one of the largest untapped markets in the world.”

The startup plans to use the investment to continue developing its product, expand the team, and fund advnaces. Abhi currently has a team of over 10 employees in Karachi and Lahore.

Read More

Foreign Investors Pour Millions Into Pakistan’s FinTech Startups

Foreign investors are pouring millions of dollars into Pakistan’s FinTech startups as two new funding deals — KTrade and Abhi — notch an infusion of fresh capital totaling $6.6 million, Bloomberg reported on Monday (June 7).

These latest funding deals are on top of the $19.3 million raised by Pakistan’s startups in the first quarter of this year. Of that, almost $15 million came from investors outside of the country. Last year, foreign investments in Pakistan totaled a historic $48 million, according to an April tweet by Invest2Innovate, per Bloomberg.

KTrade, also known as KASB Securities or Khadim Ali Shah Bukhari Securities, is a FinTech trading app founded in 2018 by Ali Farid Khwaja in Karachi. Also headquartered in Karachi, the salary advance platform Abhi was co-founded this year by Ali Ladhubhai and Omair Ansari, a former Morgan Stanley fund manager.

KTrade, which enables investors to buy and sell equities on the Pakistan Stock Exchange, raised $4.5 million in a funding round led by Hong Kong-based TT Bond Partners and HOF Capital from New York with participation by German investor Christian Angermayer, according to a company statement, per Bloomberg.

Ansari raised $2.1 million in seed funding for Abhi, which provides people with a tool to get advanced access to money earned ahead of payday. Investors included VEF Ltd. and Village Global, Ansari told Bloomberg.

Amir Wain, CEO of i2c Inc., told PYMNTS’ Karen Webster that the COVID-19 pandemic helped accelerate the wider build-out and adoption of mobile infrastructure, which is now resulting in a greater number of developing and emerging economies embracing the digital ecosystem. The interview in February coincided with i2c’s partnership with TAG to introduce a payments super app. At the time, the unbanked population in Pakistan consisted of about 100 million adults.

When it comes to developing digital tools for emerging economies, Mariam Hussain Randhawa, head of consumer products at JazzCash, said in a PYMNTS interview that a customer-centric approach is key. She added that Pakistan represents a significant market opportunity for companies that can offer tools to meet the needs of the underbanked.

Read More

Pakistani startup ‘Abhi’ raises $2 million to launch salary advance app for employees

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More

Pakistani fintech startup that gives employee salary advances banks $2m

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More

Two Fintech Deals Add to Startup Funding Rush in Pakistan

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More

Sign up for our totally free courses that we offer online

James McCann seasoned CEO, speaker, and advisor to early-stage businesses, today announced the publication of Startups & The Tech Revolution: The Essential Guide (available now). The book is published with ForbesBooks, the exclusive business book publishing imprint of Forbes Media.

Over the course of 20 years, James McCann had a C-suite view of the technology revolution and its impact on his own organizations. He knows from first-hand experience what happens when companies refuse to adapt. “This is a world that is not going to spoon feed you; it moves way too quickly for that,” he said. In Startups & The Tech Revolution, McCann explains that companies that are not prepared for the current technological paradigm and employees who are unwilling to retrain or upskill are exposed to unprecedented risk.

“A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well.” Jeff Bezos.

McCann’s focus is always on the future. He believes that where there is risk, there is also opportunity but, to see and take advantage of it, leaders and employees must be receptive to change. In addition to sharing lessons from his own experience, he cites various studies to shed light on expert predictions and offers a strategic approach to help startup companies thrive.

He leads readers to a solution that demands the adoption of a deeper entrepreneurial mindset and embraces the challenge to develop more adaptable and anticipatory playbooks and provides direction for those looking to invest in a startup business or launch their own. “By understanding the shift that is taking place, you will be able to make the most of these changes for yourself, your family, your company and your community,” he said.

Read More