Pakistani fintech PostEx has acquired logistics service provider Call Courier, creating what it describes as the largest e-commerce service provider in the country. PostEx will now serve 1.3 million users with over 8,000 merchants across 500 cities in Pakistan, and is on track to having a loan book of more than $12 million.
The acquisition means that Call Courier will become a wholly-owned subsidiary under the group name. PostEx provides services like upfront payments in a country where more than 90% of e-commerce payments are still completed in cash, and revenue-based financing for e-commerce sellers and SMEs.
PostEx co-founder and CEO Omer Khan told TechCrunch that according to the World Bank, about 100 million adults in Pakistan don’t have a bank account. As a result, businesses have limited access to working capital and lack adequate cash flow. On the other hand, consumers are wary of digital transactions, and even many who have bank accounts still prefer to pay cash on delivery for items ordered online.
But cash on delivery is problematic for e-commerce businesses because they have a higher rejection rate at the door. Furthermore, funds from cash on delivery purchases often take up to two to three weeks to be deposited into a business’ banking account, compared to a few days for digital payments.
As a result, PostEx’s founding team decided there was potential to build a reliable logistics service provider, plus upfront cash. Upfront payments mean that online vendors no longer have to wait through long payment cycles, and have better cash flow.
“We’re out there making it simpler for businesses to reach out to more customers, take care of their delivery needs and provide them with upfront liquidity,” said Khan. “This is essential for smaller businesses that need every penny to sustain themselves.”
In terms of competition, Khan says PostEx’s novelty factor is its hybrid of fintech and logistics. It has raised $8.6 million to date, and its backers include Zayn Capital, Global Founder Capital, MSA Capital, RTP, FJ Labs and Shorooq.
In a statement, Senator Afnan Ullah Khan, a member of the Prime Minister’s IT Task Force Committee said, “This acquisition shows the importance of close collaboration between fintech and logistics highlighting the importance of access to capital. This acquisition makes PostEx the largest e-commerce service provider in the market, showing the potential of startups for challenging incumbents. It’s refreshing to see new solutions to old problems.”