The fintech has been granted a commercial licence by the State Bank of Pakistan to supply financial services through its smartphone app as an Electronic Money Institution, much to the delight of the over 500,000 people on its waiting list. SadaPay may now move on with its public launch, “onboarding users in order of their waitlist position,” as the firm puts it.
Sadapay is closing a $10.7 million Seed-extension as a result of its licence approval. SadaPay is now one of Pakistan’s top five most funded startups, with a total capital of over $20 million. Prior investors Recharge Capital, Kingsway Capital, and Raptor Group are all increasing their stakes in the firm as it prepares to raise a Series A round later this year.
Brandon Timinsky, an American entrepreneur who moved to Asia to explore new opportunities after his last start-up in the United States was bought, launched the Pakistani fintech. The company has evolved from a modest team of ten to a global corporation with 120 personnel spread across nine time zones in just two years. SadaPay’s name is derived from the Urdu and Arabic word “sada,” which means “simple.” Mr. Timinsky explained, “The complexities of banking can be intimidating to the average Pakistani, so our mission is to make money so simple that any other way becomes unthinkable.”
“Imagine the logistical challenge of printing and sending out 500,000 debit cards in one day!” says the company’s COO, Omer Salimullah. “We intend to roll out accounts to our waitlist over a number of weeks in order to maintain the highest levels of customer experience.” Omer was previously an Executive Vice-President of Meezan Bank, which was just named the most valuable commercial bank in the country based on market value.
It takes around two minutes to open a SadaPay account; simply take a selfie, take a photo of your ID card, and fill in some basic information. As soon as you open an account, a virtual Mastercard debit card is automatically issued for you, ready for online transactions on all of your favourite applications and websites including Foodpanda, Amazon, AliExpress, Netflix, and Spotify. After that, a free physical Mastercard is delivered to your door in only 2-3 working days.
Unlike traditional banks, SadaPay’s in-app chat help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with a median response time of fewer than 30 seconds. Customers can send and receive remittances from more than 55 countries across the world, as well as withdraw cash for free at any ATM in Pakistan.
SadaPay is able to pass on its cost savings to users in an endeavour to provide free financial services by utilising contemporary technology and eliminating the expensive costs of operating physical infrastructure, as traditional banks do. However, if everything is provided for free, people may be left wondering how this company gets the money.
“Think of it as a ‘freemium model,'” says Tayseer Ali, the company’s CFO. We don’t charge for the fundamentals, but we do charge for value-added services. For instance, when we assist freelancers in accepting foreign payments or when we provide enterprises with payroll services.” Tayseer was previously the CFO of Mobilink Microfinance Bank, the parent company of Jazzcash, Pakistan’s largest mobile money provider.
SadaPay plans to more than double its workforce to over 250 by the end of the year, as well as extend its product offerings for freelancers and small business owners.