HBL becomes the pioneer bank of Pakistan to invest in a digital fintech startup with its Rs.176 Million (USD 1.15 Million) participation in the last tranche of FINJA’s Rs.1.56 billion (USD10.15 Million) Series A1 round. Also, HBL joins an impressive list of leading global fintech funds invested in FINJA, including BeeNext, Vostok Emerging Finance, Quona Capital, and ICU Ventures. All investors from previous rounds topped up their investment in FINJA’s Series A1 round.
For HBL, an investment in FINJA follows two of the bank’s strategic priorities. Firstly, making investments into Digital Financial Inclusion and Development Finance companies. Especially those startups making an impact in agriculture and SMEs as these are the backbone of the economy. Secondly, proactively reinventing HBL to become a “technology company with a banking license.”
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in April last year, FINJA has scaled its digital lending portfolio by 550%, disbursing over 50,000 digital loans to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Despite being the backbone of the economy, small businesses in Pakistan have traditionally not obtained credit to grow.
“We are delighted to have HBL participate in this funding round. Our unprecedented success in digitally scoring undocumented small businesses has resulted in a 64% month-on-month portfolio growth since the pandemic outbreak earlier this year. Undoubtedly, HBL’s financial clout, massive network, and progressive leadership will help us elevate the country’s most important segment, the SMEs,” said Qasif Shahid, CEO, and Co-Founder of FINJA.
“These loans are crucial for Pakistan’s economic growth. Our productive loans yield a 40% increase in SME revenue with less than a 1% default rate,” added Monis Rahman, Chairman, and Co-Founder FINJA.
Muhammad Aurangzeb, President, and CEO of HBL, commenting on the occasion, said, “We are delighted to be investing in FINJA. Pakistan’s fintech landscape has immense opportunities. At HBL, we believe that by making this investment, we are developing the Startup ecosystem, but it will also pave the way for Pakistan to play a bigger role in the fintech space globally. SME lending in the future, and therefore we are investing in FINJA, which enjoys a first-mover advantage over the market in digitally lending to SMEs in this country.”