Airlift, Pakistan’s second-largest startup, shuts down as global downturn claims another tech casualty
Last week, Voyager Digital filed for bankruptcy just a year after the crypto-asset broker startup raised $100 million in funding. Now, the ongoing global downturn has claimed another casualty.
Today, Airlift, Pakistan’s second-largest startup, has shut down its operations in the country, blaming it on the global recession and the downturn in capital markets. In a statement, the startup said: “This has been an extremely taxing decision that impacts a large set of stakeholders and an emerging technology ecosystem.”
Similar to Voyager Digital, the news of the shutdown comes a year after Airlift raised $85 million in the largest-ever funding round for a Pakistani startup.
In a post on Twitter, Airlift said it decided to permanently shut operations “due to the global recession and with tightening capital markets.”
“Hi there, due to the global recession and with tightening capital markets, our team has decided to shut down our operations permanently. We thank you for your support over the last 3.5 years, it has been a pleasure serving you. For further details or claims support, please don…”
Hi there, due to the global recession and with tightening capital markets, our team has decided to shut down our operations permanently. We thank you for your support over the last 3.5 years, it has been a pleasure serving you. For further details or claims support, please don…
— Airlift Pakistan (@airlift_pk) July 13, 2022
Airlift announced the decision in a meeting on Tuesday and the startup said it has informed its employees about the shut down of its operations in the country from Wednesday. In a press release shared on Twitter, Airlift said:
“While the global recession and recent downturn in capital markets have affected economic activity across the board, it has had a devastating impact on Airlift and rendered its shut-down inevitable.”
Press Release: Airlift decides to shut down operations – July'22
For further information, our media and public relations team can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/TV01d7fxU9
— Airlift Pakistan (@airlift_pk) July 12, 2022
Although Airlift was closing, the statement looked forward to further work in emerging markets. “Due to factors beyond our control, the Airlift journey must come to an end,” it said. “However, our broader mission of creating positive change in the region will find a new life.”
With the onset of the recession, Airlift was one of the first few startup companies in the emerging markets to restructure business operations. “our response code included three adaptations: (i) an immediate reduction in headcount, (ii) shutting down operations across all expansion markets, and (iii) revision in platform configurations to ramp up monetization (i.e. introduction of higher prices and delivery fee),” Airlift said in a statement.
Founded in 2019, Airlift started out as a mass transit startup but had to halt its operations in March due to Covid-19. In 2020, the startup decided to diversify into last-mile delivery with the launch of a 30-minute grocery delivery platform called Airlift Express. Through the platform, Airlift delivers essentials to households in 30 minutes across Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and other areas, according to the company’s statement on LinkedIn.