Blockchain Startup Offers Smart Bus Commute in Pakistan, Raises $14M

An emerging blockchain bus travel startup, founded by Usman Gul, is working on a decentralized mass transit system in Pakistan.

Awful experience in public transportation on the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, prompted Usman to think of alternatives. The inefficiency and inadequacy of the local transport system – the burning fuel with harmful emissions, delays – made him think up a mass transit system that is reliable, reduces cost, and is environmental-friendly.

In March of this year, Usman kickstarted Airlift with a pilot in Lahore that has since been serving over 10,000 daily rides. Airlift is operated by Usman from the US, and the service is available in Pakistan.

Airlift is a smart bus service that operates on a marketplace model, helping private bus operators to run fixed routes at fixed timings. Contrasted to other ride-hailing services that are often criticized for pricing surges, Airlift promises an introductory flat pricing of PKR 50 only. The fare can be paid by credit or debit card, or by cash on the bus. Possibly in the future, commuters will be able to pay with cryptocurrency.

Commuters who want to try Airlift should download their app for iOS or Android devices.

So far, the startup hasn’t had any issues with regulations, “Four months into our operations, we are sailing smooth and these challenges are yet to come,” shared Usman to Techjuice.

Usman did not specify how many buses are part of the Airlift fleet but shared that they are serving 150 routes in Lahore.

Airlift has by now closed over $14 million in funding from diverse angel investors, including First Round Capital, a prominent investor in Uber, Roblox, Looker, Notion, and Square.

Their roadmap foresees scaling up operations, refining technology stack, and investing in organizational infrastructure. Also, they plan to expand to other countries, “Our focus is to take this company from Lahore and scale up internationally. We are considering Nairobi, among other markets.”

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