Turkish fintech Papara acquires Pakistan’s SadaPay

Turkey’s leading fintech Papara made a foray into South Asia through 100% acquisition of Pakistani fintech firm SadaPay.

Previous media reports suggested that the deal could be valued at around $50 million.

Established in 2019 by Brandon Timinsky, SadaPay rapidly became one of the fastest-growing Electronic Money Institutions internationally, quickly reaching 1 million users. Since its inception, SadaPay has secured around $20 million in equity funding through various rounds. The two most recent funding rounds were led by Kingsway Capital and Recharge Capital.

SadaPay offers features like peer-to-peer money transfers, debit cards, and various other payment products, handling $1.5 billion in annual payment volume. In partnership with Mastercard, it was the first to launch a numberless debit card in the Middle East and Asia (MEA) region.

These developments have established SadaPay as a major player in Pakistan’s financial transformation.

Most significant fintech investments in Pakistan

“This acquisition marks one of the most significant fintech investments in the country in recent years. We aim to position SadaPay as the leading fintech player in the region by bolstering its innovative and bold initiatives with Papara’s business know-how, robust technology, and user-centric culture. SadaPay will continue its growth journey with its brand,” Papara CEO Emre Kenci said.

“Pakistan’s future star status is predicted on the back of its population growth, which could place it among the largest economies in the world in the next 50 years,” Kenci added.

“By strengthening SadaPay with Papara’s technology, user-oriented culture and business knowledge, we will make it one of the most important financial institutions in the country, just like Papara,” according to Papara’s statement on LinkedIn.

Papara, a financial technology company, is the first non-bank entity in Turkiye to issue a prepaid card with the Mastercard logo. Since its launch in 2016, Papara has gained 18 million users, offering digital wallet services that enable payments, money transfers, and various financial transactions via mobile phones and online platforms.

Papara comes to Pakistan after recently expanding into Europe through the Spanish Rebellion acquisition.

The acquisition, valued at $1.5bn in annual payment volume, is a strategic move following Papara’s recent expansion into Europe with the acquisition of Spanish company Rebellion in 2023.

“We’re fortunate to leverage Papara’s industry expertise, advanced technology platform, and diverse product offerings. With SadaPay’s strong brand, exceptional team, and local foundation, this acquisition will significantly accelerate the pace at which we can deliver value to Pakistan’s quarter-billion citizens,” SadaPay founder and CEO Brandon Timinsky said after signing the deal.

SadaPay’s smartphone app and card. (Image Credit: SadaPay)

Is this a good development for Pakistan?

Pakistani fintech community described the acquisition as a “positive development” for Pakistan. They believe the move will solidify Turkish fintech’s position in Pakistan, which is poised to enhance services and solutions within the country’s financial ecosystem.

Pakistan, the fifth most populous country with 240 million people, holds significant potential for financial innovation. With 70% of its population under 35, the fintech sector is rapidly expanding in the South Asian country. In 2023, internet users increased by 15.5%, and mobile banking users surged by 30.2%, reflecting the growing investment in technology.

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