Mobile marketplace – The story of Bykea with founder Muneeb Maayr

“It’s incumbent on us to leave some sort of an impact – and build something,” says Muneeb Maayr, founder of Bykea, a motorcycle-based transport and logistics provider with over a million application downloads.

Watch his interview to hear his thoughts on the role of entrepreneurship in Pakistan; how the idea for Bykea came about (2:08); his vision for the company (4:15); his prescription for Pakistan’s startup landscape (5:26); and what the government needs to do to help businesses (6:01).

Bykea uses the power of the internet to generate income for its partners, leveraging the two most common assets owned by the majority of Pakistanis; a motorcycle and a smartphone. Maayr, a veteran technopreneur, brings his past experience as co-founder and CEO of e-commerce giant in positioning Bykea not as merely a ride-hailing app, but as a “hyper-local marketplace” – for an extended range of services including food delivery, tracked instant courier, and bill/ticket payments – having had 7 million transactions in the first 17 months since its inception in 2017.

While the market is growing, apps like Bykea face unique challenges.

“Population can’t search or type in Urdu on a keyboard at large,” says Maayr when asked what’s the most pressing concern for this industry.

An alumnus of the University of Virginia, Maayr represents a new breed of tech entrepreneurs being motivated by an ‘obligation to create’, and using technology to translate their vision into impactful businesses.

Maayr is looking forward to having more experienced entrepreneurs entering the startup space in Pakistan and prescribes that the government make it easier for products and services to be competitive globally, subsidising all exports and facilitating international payments into the country. He believes banks have an integral responsibility in using fintech to develop easy access to credit, which will, in turn, develop thousands of small sellers, building Pakistan’s own eBay or AliExpress model.

Maayr hopes for a more financially included Pakistan across socioeconomic and gender lines, with broad increases in income generation, and provision of credit.

For the 39-year-old, the role of entrepreneurship in Pakistan’s future is to build millions of eBay and AliExpress-style sellers in the country.

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