BridgeLinks, the 9-month-old Lahore-headquartered startup that operates a digital freight marketplace, on Tuesday said it has raised $10 million in the largest seed financing round in Pakistan.
Harry Stebbings’ 20 VC, Josh Buckley’s Buckley Ventures and Indus Valley Capital co-led the startup’s funding round, which BridgeLinks co-founder and chief executive Salman Gul completed within weeks to Nerdshala.
This is 20 VCs in Pakistan and Buckley Ventures’ second major investment in recent weeks, following an $85 million round in quick-commerce startup Airlift. Indus Valley Capital, which also recently backed the business-to-business marketplace market, has made three recent high-profile investments in the South Asian country.
Wavemaker Partners, Quiet Capital, TrueSight Ventures, Soma Capital, Flexport, Magnus Rausing’s UNTITLED and the founders of Convoy and Bazaar also participated in the round.
bridgelinks Asset-Lite is building a digital freight marketplace. The platform connects shippers – such as construction companies, cement factories, textile companies – with truckers and private fleets.
Gul, who has previously worked at consultancy firm KPMG in Canada, said the platform offers its technological solutions to ensure proper document verification at both ends, timely pickup, port operations and safety of cargo.
BridgeLinks is already on board thousands of carriers and is handling thousands of freight charges every week for many large customers, he said.
As is true in India, Pakistan’s trucking system has a huge problem of inefficiency that continues to drag down the economy. The biggest problem faced by truckers is that they are unable to use their trucks once they have delivered. So a truck carrying something from Lahore to Karachi is likely to return empty, wasting both time and money.
Startups like BridgeLinks are trying to find ways to make this system more efficient. Gul said he has studied how Convoy and India’s BlackBuck and Rivigo have expanded their businesses.
He said BlackBuck is working on an asset-light model like BridgeLinks. But he plans to repeat some of Rivigo’s learnings — using its own trucks to make sure multiple drivers are working shifts.
“We will eventually have a hybrid of what BlackBuck and Rivigo offer,” he said.
“BridgeLinks has cracked the code for end-to-end freight operations in a hassle-free manner and hence has signed on some of the top businesses in Pakistan. Ours, Atif Awan, Managing Partner, Indus Valley Capital said in a statement. The team believes that this team is on its way to bring unprecedented potential to the country’s economy and is really excited to partner with them.
This is a developing story. More to follow…