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Pakistani fintech firm Safepay receives Y Combinator’s backing

The company has plans to become the Stripe of Pakistan.

Safepay's founders. Courtesy of Safepay via MENAbytes. Safepay's founders. Courtesy of Safepay via MENAbytes.

Karachi-based Safepay has become the first fintech startup from Pakistan to have graduated from Y Combinator. The startup was part of YC’s S20 batch and graduated after participating in Tuesday’s demo day. It has raised the standard USD 150,000 investment as part of the program. Byte, a food delivery startup that utilizes dark kitchens, was another Pakistani company that was part of Y Combinator S20 cohort. To the best of MENAbytes‘ knowledge, this was the first time for two Pakistani startups to join a YC batch.

Founded in 2019 by Ziyad Parekh and Raza Naqvi, Safepay is a payment gateway for online businesses, enabling them to receive (card) payments from their customers. It has built easy-to-use, developer-friendly solutions that allow online businesses to set up payment integrations with their website or mobile app in minutes. Safepay also offers plugins to make integration even easier for platforms like Shopify, WooCommerce, Opencart, and WordPress.

“We’ve build an elegant, composable solution that’s focused on developers and delivers a robust, scalable, and flexible payments integration,” notes Safepay’s website, adding that the online businesses using them can leave the nuances and security around payments to fintech firm. “We eliminate needless complexity and extraneous details, you can get up and running with Safepay in just a couple of minutes.”

Ziyad Parekh, co-founder of Safepay, said to MENAbytes that they have over 270 merchants using their solutions right now, including brands like Ego and Kitchen Cuisine. “We’re growing considerably quickly each month, processing over 5,000 transactions in July alone. We’re extremely humbled by the demand for our services and are now focusing on growing the team to reach more merchants and help them receive digital payments.”

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Presenting Safepay as the Stripe of Pakistan at YC’s demo day on Tuesday, Ziyad explained that they’ve been growing 40% month-over-month and processed USD 200,000 in payments in July.

Safepay, according to its website, charges 3.3% and PKR 30 (USD 0.18) on every transaction they process. The website also breaks down the pricing and explains all the details. The startup doesn’t charge a setup fee.

Speaking about their experience of working with Y Combinator, Ziyad said, “It was fantastic. This was YC’s first completely remote batch (due to COVID-19), but it worked out especially well for us since Raza, my co-founder, was in Karachi and was able to progress the business from there, while I was in SF handling the engineering and YC commitments. They really do an amazing job with founders and provide the exact guidance you need to kick-start your business.”

“Our fellow batchmates provided us with insights into their own unique businesses and the connections that we formed will prove to be invaluable in the future,” he said.

The digital payments space in Pakistan is dominated by mobile wallets and banks, but all of them are known to offer a poor experience to both businesses and the customers of these businesses due to different types of inefficiencies, and that is apparently what Safepay is trying to fix with their offering.

This article first appeared in MENAbytes.