TAG, a finance startup based in Islamabad, has raised $5.5 million in a pre-seed round backed by US venture capital firms Quiet Capital and Liberty City Ventures. Additionally, Fatima Gobi Ventures and Unpopular Ventures participated in the round, as did strategic investors such as Visa and angel investors such as general partners of Andreessen Horowitz, Khosla Ventures, and Canaan Partners, as well as Mercury CEO Immad Akhund. Additionally, the Pakistani fintech company got accepted into Y Combinator’s Summer 2021 batch.
According to our information, this is the greatest pre-seed crop ever planted in the Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan. Telda, an Egyptian fintech, momentarily held the record after raising $5 million in a pre-seed round last month.
Tag, founded in 2020 by Talal Ahmad Gondal, Ahsan Khan, and Alexander Lukianchuk, plans to develop Pakistan’s first digital retail bank, beginning with the launch of a private beta of its financial super app in the coming weeks. Users will be able to register bank accounts totally digitally and conduct peer-to-peer transfers to other Tag users or to any bank account in Pakistan, as well as pay utility bills and recharge cellphone credit.
Additionally, customers will receive a Visa-branded debit card that may be used to make cash withdrawals or make online/offline purchases at participating retailers. The firm has got preliminary approval from the State Bank of Pakistan and is awaiting final approval to begin its pilot.
According to Talal Ahmed Gondal, co-founder and CEO of Tag, “the majority of Pakistan’s population remains unbanked, including the country’s youth and women.” We’re building Tag to bring these and numerous other underserved populations into the country’s financial ecosystem. We are overjoyed to have gotten support from some of the world’s greatest investors and strategic players to help us develop the future of banking in Pakistan.”
Additionally, he stated that they are beginning with mobile banking solutions but intend to grow into more use cases for the country’s various client segments. Tag also intends to examine the possibility of growing into additional markets in the Middle East and North Africa via partnerships, but will initially focus exclusively on Pakistan.
Its founders have vast expertise working with and for startups and venture capital firms. Talal has worked in a variety of operational and investment roles in technology and investment organisations around Europe for over seven years. He was most recently with Amazon, where he led the company’s EMEA venture capital unit. Alexander Lukianchuk, CTO of Tag, previously led an engineering team at European neobank N26. He has over 15 years of expertise developing financial products and services, including heading an engineering team at N26. Ahsan Khan worked for Deutsche Bank as an investment banker.
The fintech now employs over 30 people, the majority of whom work remotely from Europe. It is comprised of former engineers and designers from Google, Twilio, N26, and a number of other prominent technology businesses.
Tag intends to use the financing to fund the company’s commercial debut, expand its technology and operational teams, and adhere to regulatory standards.