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Pakistani startup ‘Airlift’ plans to revolutionise mass transit in the country

Pakistani startup ‘Airlift’ plans to revolutionise mass transit in the country


Airlift is a new transport service that allows users to pre-book rides on premium quality, air-conditioned buses and vans that have fixed routes and stops across the city.

Airlift was created with benevolent goals; to get closer to a more progressive Pakistan by combating the ever growing air pollution levels in Lahore and to making commutes across the city safe and convenient for vulnerable groups like women.

The unique decentralised mass transit startup that currently only operates in Lahore and Karachi, allows travellers to ‘pool’ together on a single journey to and from a common direction. In doing so, Airlift has become a powerful tool in helping to ease traffic congestion in the city and reducing the air pollution levels in one of the post polluted cities in the world.

Moreover, Airlift is also a great advantage to marginalised and vulnerable groups who already find difficulty in commuting and whose economic and social participation has taken a blow as a result. Women in particular have benefitted greatly from this service.

Recently, the CEO of Airlift, Usman Gul announced that the budding enterprise has secured $12 million Series A financing from First Round Capital. First Round is a New York based venture capital firm that has previously invested in companies such as Uber and Square.

This is not only First Round’s first investment outside of the United States, but also it is the first time that a leading US fund has invested in Pakistan. This also marks the largest Series A ever raised by a Pakistani startup, as well as one of the largest financings in South Asia this year.

Following this, Airlift is now looking to expand their team of 25 as they increase the number of buses and vans in Lahore and Karachi. Additionally, they are looking for feedback concerning their service and encouraging users and Pakistanis alike to email them with ideas they can implement or improvements they can make. They can be contacted at careers@rideairlift.com.

For a company that hopes to see a more progressive Pakistan, securing this funding has been a major milestone. It will be fascinating to see the impact this will have on the population in coming years. Gul notes that he hopes this will encourage more foreign interest in the country, increased work opportunities for young people and a rise in visionary entrepreneurs hoping to improve the condition of our state.

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