NayaPay, a Pakistan-based fintech platform, has raised $13 million in one of the largest seed rounds in South Asia. Bringing together a diverse mix of leading global institutional and angel investors, the round was led by Zayn Capital, global fund manager MSA Novo and early-stage VC Graph Ventures from Silicon Valley.

Singapore-based Saison Capital, Waleed Saigol’s Maple Leaf Capital and Warren Hogarth, CEO Empower Finance, also participated in the round, alongside a major investment from the sponsors of the Lakson Group – a Pakistani conglomerate with interests in media, telecom, industrials, financial services as well as controlling stake in Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan and McDonalds Pakistan.

NayaPay is the first fintech of its kind in Pakistan having recently secured the first E-Money Institution license from the central bank, State Bank of Pakistan. It is on a mission to make financial services simpler and accessible to millions of Pakistani users. NayaPay aims to be at the forefront in the digitisation of Pakistan with its two-sided platform for the underbanked.

Pakistan presents a significant market opportunity for NayaPay, where over 50 million adults are unbanked and only 33% of women have a bank account. With 70% of the population under 35 years old, there is a significant mobile-first generation. Almost $4tn payments are made each year but only 1% of these are made digitally currently. On the merchant side, the majority of SMBs in Pakistan are unregistered, have traditionally dealt primarily in cash and have very limited access to business banking.

The fintech has launched its chat-led super app targeted primarily at students and freelancers; and is building a SaaS based platform called NayaPay Arc offering universal payment acceptance and financial management tools for SMBs. NayaPay’s platform strategy will harness the network effects between consumers and merchants, as seen in platforms, such as, Square Cash/Square, WeChat Pay, AliPay and Venmo in their native markets.

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