DUBAI: Pakistani financial technology startup Oraan has raised $3 million in its latest funding round, in a boost to female-led entrepreneurs in the country.
The startup was founded in 2018 by Halima Iqbal and Farwah Tapal, who wanted to provide financing solutions for unbanked women in Pakistan.
The female duo set out to disrupt an informal financing model in Pakistan where families or a group of people in a community would contribute money to a pool distributed to a member each month.
Oraan provides technology to decentralize and automate this informal system, providing unbanked communities, particularly women, a more sophisticated financing option.
Investors including Zayn Capital and Wavemaker Partners joined the round, as well as other international venture capitalists.
“When a woman goes into a bank, the first question we get asked is ‘why do you even need a bank account?’ especially if you’re a freelancer or micro-entrepreneur or unemployed homemaker,” Iqbal said.
The kinds of restrictions, she added, have stopped women from contributing to the economy because of the lack of financial mobility.
“We take this culturally, religiously, socially acceptable tool, which is committees, digitize them and bring women into a more formal space where they can open bank accounts,” Iqbal explained.
The startup has big ambitions to become a “full-fledged neobank.”