It was just recently that we were talking about the Egypt based Swvl which offered ride hailing services through ride sharing which cut down costs and offered a more premium experience compared to public transportation. However, The place where Swvl plans to expand is currently ruled by Airlift. It is a Lahore based startup which has been growing for around 8 months now and have raised $2.2 million in a seed round which is a reported all-time high for a Pakistani startup. The seed round had a lot of top investors and one of Pakistan’s largest Conglomerates, Fatima Group under the Venture Capitalist arm Fatima Ventures was also present.
The growth of airlift has been very positive uptil now with hundreds of pre defined routes in Lahore and Karachi with a large number of vehicles and allowing the daily travelers to track their rides and know the stops for the airlift vans and can also pay by credit or debit card. As Airlift likes to explain itself in the following words,
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With a marketplace model, our technology helps organize private bus operators to run fixed routes at fixed timings. For transporters, Airlift offers a way to increase asset utilization by running their buses during idle time. For consumers, Airlift reduces both commute time and cost. Airlift’s proprietary dynamic stops technology lies at the heart of our marketplace.
Airlift was started by Usman who left his MBA program to start Airlift with AwaabKhaakwany, Meherfarukh, Muhammad Owais, Zohaib Ali and Ahmed Ayub, a Pakistani entrepreneur who has been involved in the establishment of numerous other startups. The progress of Airlift has attracted buyers and Usman himself stated
We have received multiple acquisition offers from ride-hailing giants but we are currently not actively seeking acquisition or exit options. Our vision is to build the mass transit infrastructure of the developing world, starting with Lahore and Karachi
This shows the determination of Airlift to expand itself rather than go for the money and risk losing the fundamental values of what the startup was build upon.