Startups Pakistani Neem raises $2.5M to serve underbanked communities with...

Pakistani Neem raises $2.5M to serve underbanked communities with its embedded funding platform •


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Pakistan’s Embedded Financing Platform take has raised $2.5 million in a seed funding round as it works to support low-bank communities in the country.

The Karachi-based startup targets communities in a variety of sectors, including agriculture, SMEs, e-commerce, logistics, healthcare, and others. It provides a lending platform that its partners use to offer tailor-made credit products to consumers and SMEs. Neem is also working on a Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) platform, to go live in December, which will bring partners on board to integrate wallets and payments and offer financial products such as insurance and savings adapted to the specific needs of the community.

Three-year-old Neem was founded by Nadeem Shaikh, Vladimira Briestenska and Naeem Zamindar who previously worked as fintech entrepreneurs, operators and VCs.

“Most of the [existing] players offer a B2C solution; we are a B2B2C solution. If you look at the embedded financial space, it’s a $167 billion opportunity,” Shaikh said in an interview with

Due to COVID, the strong growth in digitization has helped Neem to embed its financial services in the private and public sectors.

Citing industry figures, Shaikh said about 53 million people in Pakistan are currently under-banked. Over time, the startup plans to move beyond Pakistan and support low-banking communities in other emerging markets.

The seed funding, which the startup plans to use to expand its existing team of 20 people, roll out the BaaS platform and capitalize licenses, was led by Hong Kong-based SparkLabs Fintech. The financing round also saw the participation of the Pakistani investment banking firm Arif Habib, Cordoba Logistics and Ventures, Taarah Ventures, My Asia VC, Concept Vines and Building Capital. In addition, partners at Outrun Ventures and strategic angels such as CSO of tech house BPC, founding partner at Mentors Fund and fintech veteran and ex-CEO of Seccl also participated in the seed round.

“We have a strong belief in Neem’s mission to enable financial well-being for underbanked communities, and have full confidence in Neem’s leadership team to realize this vision amid macro challenges around the world,” said William Chu, Managing Partner, SparkLabs Fintech, in a prepared statement.

The startup was launched before the start-up funding was received.

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