- Investors: Hong Kong and New York investment firms lead $4.5m funding round in stock trading app KTrade along with marquee tech investors from Europe and Asia
- Opportunity: The volume of shares traded on Pakistan Stock Exchange have increased by 7x over the past 18 months driven by an increase in retail trading.
- Impact: Over 50% of Pakistanis keep their savings in cash at home or invest in real estate. KTrade is bringing this trapped capital into the formal economy.
Leading Pakistani fintech stock trading app KTrade announced it has raised $4.5m in a funding round from a range of global investors and institutions led by Hong Kong-based TTB Partners, and HOF Capital from New York. German fintech investor Christian Angermayer, the Managing Partner of German bank Berenberg David Mortlock, and leading Pakistani business families also participated in the round.
KTrade is the fintech retail trading app created by KASB Securities, the leading stock brokerage in Pakistan. KTrade provides easy access to financial markets for retail investors much like its global peers such as XP in Brazil, Zerodha and Groww in India, Tiger in China, Flatex in Germany and Robinhood in the US.
Since launching in 2019, KTrade has over 200,000 users and aims to reach 10 million Pakistani’s at home and abroad by 2023 to invest in stocks, bonds, commodities and mutual funds through its mobile platform. The Karachi Stock Exchange Index (KSE100) has rallied by 19% per annum over the past 20 years despite regular market cycles. The volumes have increased by 7x over the last 18 months driven by regulatory reforms and increase in retail investor participation. Retail investors now account for over 65% of overall trading volume compared to around 45% 24 months ago. KTrade aims to provide users quick and easy accessibility to this investment opportunity.
Ali Farid led the creation of KTrade. He was previously the CFO of UK listed fintech company SafeCharge (acquired by Nuvei) and a Partner at Autonomous Research (acquired by Alliance Bernstein) in London. Ali is a Rhodes Scholar and has been a top ranked Technology Analyst in Europe since 2013.
Ali Farid, Co-Founder of KTrade, commented: “People in Pakistan have traditionally turned to gold or real estate when they consider investment options. However, as the regulatory approach, authority and credibility of the Karachi Stock Exchange has grown, more people are getting comfortable with stock market investing. This is an exciting trend but accessibility to these markets remains a hurdle for millions. KTrade will enable this mobile-first population to participate in the investment opportunity. By connecting these people to companies we can drive capital trapped in unproductive assets into the formal economy which would eventually drive a virtuous cycle of economic growth and higher investments”.
Pakistan is emerging on the radar of global investors as the next Indonesia. A large, young and growing middle class and high smartphone penetration have created ideal conditions for technology led disruption. KASB’s aim is to provide retail savers access to financial education, information and financial products and to help them make better financial decisions.
“Most people in Pakistan lack access to formal financial products and their savings in real estate or gold offer inferior returns, are inefficient and have high transactional costs. We aim to democratise access to the capital markets and enable them to make stock market investments. The strong demand for KTrade shows that the market is ready for this transformation. Other regional and emerging markets have seen similar evolution led by successful fintech companies”, added Ali Farid.
“Pakistan and South Asia have some of the most exciting market dynamics and demographics globally, and KTrade is well positioned to take advantage of the democratisation of finance in the region”, said Jonathan Bond, Managing Partner TTB Partners who were lead investors in the funding round.
“We are delighted to be investing in the latest round of funding for KASB, and to support Ali and his first-class team on their continued journey. We have been extremely impressed by what KASB has built over the past few years, both from a tech perspective and from the educational overlay to investing, which the company has embraced. In particular, we believe that in KTrade, the company has a stellar solution to expanding stock market participation across Pakistan”, added Jonathan Bond.