The deal expands VEON’s investment in Pakistan’s digital economy at a time when tech startups are facing rising inflation and a global recession.
Islamabad, June 14, 2022: VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a global digital operator that provides mobile connectivity and services, announces today that the Group’s VEON Ventures division has completed a US$ 15 million Series A investment in Dastgyr, a Pakistan-based B2B e-commerce marketplace platform.
The deal is VEON Ventures’ largest investment in a Pakistani start-up and reflects the Group’s continued commitment to the region and growth of the digital economy of Pakistan. The investment positions Dastgyr to take advantage of VEON’s global expertise and its operating company, Jazz’s distribution network and digital payment solutions via JazzCash.
“Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem is at a critical juncture and only startups focused on addressing key challenges and adopting localized solutions will survive and thrive,” added Aamir Ibrahim, CEO of Jazz. “This investment highlights VEON’s commitment to scaling up Pakistan’s digital economy and provides Dastgyr with a platform to build synergies with Jazz’s subscriber base of around 75 million and with JazzCash, further integrating the startup into Pakistan’s fintech ecosystem.”
“As part of VEON’s transformation into a digital operator that delivers a growing range of services to our customers we are investing in leading digital companies like Dastagyr in the countries where we operate. These investments are the building blocks of the digital ecosystem that will enable us to deliver on our strategy,” said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, CEO of VEON Ventures.
“Pakistan, with its rapidly growing digital sector, is a key market for VEON. By bringing together Dagstyr’s e-commerce business with Jazz’s communications network and JazzCash’s mobile payments platform, we will catalyse the growth in digital services in Pakistan. This would be further enhanced by the digital banking services that we have ambitions to provide.”
Dastgyr offers businesses a one-stop-shop application that connects thousands of retailers with suppliers to give them access to real-time visibility on pricing and financing rates.
“We are thrilled to achieve this milestone in the current global economic environment,” said Zohaib Ali, co-founder of Dastgyr. “We welcome the new investors to the Dastgyr family as we continue to work relentlessly toward our vision of building an AliBaba for emerging markets worldwide. We’re lucky to have found strategic partners who believe in our mission and have displayed unwavering faith in our team.
“Financial inclusion, which is central to the startup’s mission, will uplift and enable Pakistan’s small- and medium-sized retail entrepreneurs and unlock up to an additional US$ 10 billion for the country’s GDP, according to our estimates.”
Dastgyr will remain an independent entity, with a minority position being taken by VEON Ventures. The new investment will support Dastgyr’s expansion into 15 new regions of Pakistan, alongside its existing network in Karachi, Lahore, Sheikhupura and Gujranwala.
VEON Ventures’ investment in Dastgyr Series A funding was made alongside Zinal Growth Partners, DEG, Khwarizmi Ventures, Oman Technology Fund, Cedar Mundi Ventures, Reflect Ventures, Century Oak Capital, Haitou Global, GoingVC, Astir Ventures, K3 Ventures, Chandaria Capital, along with the founders of Property Finder, Ayoconnect, Quiqup and senior management from DoorDash.