Neem, a platform for embedded finance in Pakistan, has raised $2.5 million in a preliminary investment round to help the nation’s underbanked communities.
The startup with headquarters in Karachi focuses on communities across various industries, including agriculture, MSMEs, e-commerce, logistics, healthcare, and others. It provides a lending platform that its affiliates use to offer consumers and MSMEs specialized financing products. Neem is also working on a banking-as-a-service (BaaS) platform that will launch in December and allow partners to incorporate wallets and payments and provide financial products like savings accounts and insurance tailored to the needs of particular communities.
Nadeem Shaikh, Vladimira Briestenska, and Naeem Zamindar, who had previously worked as fintech entrepreneurs, operators, and VCs, formed the three-year-old company Neem.
“The majority of [current] players offer a B2C solution; we are a B2B2C solution. According to Shaikh, there is a $167 billion opportunity in the embedded banking sector. Shaikh made this statement in an interview with TechCrunch.
Because of COVID, Neem has been able to integrate its financing services into the private and public sectors.
Shaikh stated that according to industry statistics, there are currently 53 million unbanked individuals in Pakistan. The firm intends to serve underbanked people outside of Pakistan in other emerging countries in the future.
The business received seed money from Hong Kong-based SparkLabs Fintech, which it plans to use to grow its current team of 20 employees, launch the BaaS platform, and capitalize on licenses. Arif Habib, an investment banking firm based in Pakistan, Cordoba Logistics and Ventures, Taarah Ventures, My Asia VC, Concept Vines, and Building Capital were other participants in the funding round. The founding partner of Mentors Fund, a veteran of the fintech industry, and the former CEO of Seccl were also seeded round participants, along with partners from Outrun Ventures.
In a prepared statement, William Chu, managing partner of SparkLabs Fintech, said, “We have a strong conviction about Neem’s mission to enable financial wellness for underbanked communities, and have full confidence in the Neem leadership team to realize this vision amidst macro challenges across the globe.”