OneLoad, a fintech business based in Pakistan, has revealed that it has raised $11 million in fresh capital as it prepares for its next stage of expansion.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s strategic investment fund joined Pakistan’s Sarmayacar and Abu Dhabi-based Shorooq Partners in OneLoad’s round of funding. International Finance Corporation (IFC) was another former investor in the fintech business.
EP Systems, a subsidiary of Systems Ltd., owns OneLoad, which is digitizing smaller retailers for banking operations, is owned by EP Systems, a subsidiary of Systems Ltd. The Lahore-based fintech business gained in-principle clearance from the State Bank in January 2020 and is also vying for the Electronic Money Institute (EMI) license.
OneLoad’s founder and CEO, Muhammad Yar Hiraj, stated that the company has met the standards of the central bank and is awaiting approval for the pilot operations in a few weeks.
OneLoad, which was established in the middle of 2014, gained retailers by allowing them to digitally sell telecom operators’ airtime. Since its retailer base is still intact, it has advanced to make it possible for them to take payments and has further ambitions to give them the tools necessary for cash-in and cash-out services.
OneLoad intends to offer debit cards and convert OneLoad accounts into bank accounts using the EMI license.
“OneLoad instructed merchants to keep cash on hand as a store of value. That store of value will transform into a bank account with EMI and OneLoad will be able to issue a debit card on that account, says Hiraj.
Retailers will be able to accept payments through QR codes and from other digital wallets since it will become a bank account.
Hiraj continues, “The most crucial function that they plan to enable retailers for is that customers cash-in and cash-out services through OneLoad’s retailer network rather than doing it through physical ATMs.”
Additionally, digital loans are made available to retailers to help them with their working capital needs. OneLoad conducts loans through the NBFI licenses of partner businesses and is also working to obtain an NBFI license through its EP Systems.
According to Hiraj, the entire OneLoad product line fundamentally aims to meet the financial demands of shops and give them the ability to offer banking services without actual bank facilities.
OneLoad will use the additional money to increase the number of products and services it offers to Pakistan’s massive unbanked population, which is thought to number 100 million adults. In a news release, Hiraj stated, “We are a grassroots company for the grassroots.”
“We are thrilled to welcome new partners, such as Sarmayacar and Shorooq Partners, to the business. Our goal is to entirely digitize the financial requirements of Pakistan’s unbanked and financially excluded populations, according to Hiraj.
Tamer Azer, a partner of Shorooq Partners, stated that “we cannot have financial inclusion without a solid infrastructure that integrates into people’s daily lives; if the products we build do not seamlessly integrate with people every day, we will not achieve that.”
“We learned this in Egypt, and we see this as a huge opportunity in Pakistan as well.”