Airlift, a Lahore based startup, has raised $2.2 million in seed funding. This is the largest ever seed funding raised by a Pakistani startup. Funding was provided by Fatima Gobi Ventures, a Pakistan and China joint VC fund. This is incredible for a startup is just 8 months old.
Airlift lets users book rides on vans and buses. It’s all managed through Airlift mobile app that is available for iOS as well as for Android.
Users can book rides, track buses, and also pay for their travel with debit or credit card. All from Airlift’s mobile app. It’s a very simple, 3-step process. Book a seat and ride the bus at your chosen pick up point.
Airlift – An Uber Alternative?
Kind of. Like Uber, you can book rides and track your ride using the mobile app. But the similarities end here. Uber is a private, taxi-hailing service. Airlift is for public transport. You can book a ride on a cab or a bus. Airlift is much cheaper compared to Uber.
So it’s not a perfect alternate to Uber. It’s more like Swvl – an Egypt based startup that recently launched in Pakistan. Both apps offer users to book rides from their mobile apps. But since Uber acquired Careem, there are no real competitors for the taxi-hailing service. However, with apps like Airlift, now there is some competition.
Airlift plans to expand
With $2.2 million funding, Airlift plans to expand to other countries. Starting with Bangladesh and Kenya. It also plans to improve service delivery and invest in efficiency of their mobile apps. This seems to be the right strategy as customer satisfaction is quite often not given the priority it deserves. Especially in Pakistan based startups. So, it’s great to see that Airlift plans to focus on customer service and user experience on it’s apps.
In Pakistan, Airlift currently offers its services in Lahore and Karachi. Swvl has launched in Lahore too. It will be interesting to see how both services compete over next few months.