Sequoia Capital, one of the most influential venture capital firms in the world, has backed Dbank, a fintech startup in Pakistan that aspires to become a digital bank, in its seed round of funding.

The venerable venture capital firms Sequoia Capital Southeast Asia and Kleiner Perkins, along with Dbank, today announced a $17.6 million seed raise. The seed round also included local partner Askari Bank Ltd., US-based VC company RTP Global, Rayn, and Brazilian digital banking platform Nubank.

Angel investors who have worked at companies like Google, Goldman Sachs, and Stripe are also participating in the round.

Dbank is applying for a license as a digital retail bank after the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced the licensing and regulatory framework for digital banks in January of this year. Dbank was founded in 2021 by Tania Aidrus, a former Google executive, and SAPM to former PM Imran Khan on Digital Pakistan. Khurram Jamali is also a former Google executive. The central bank may issue either a Digital Retail Bank (DRB) license or a Digital Full Bank (DFB) license under the system for both conventional and Islamic banking.

In the running to obtain a DRB license is Dbank. Only five organizations will receive a license this year from the regulator due to the fierce rivalry for the license, which had 20 applicants in the running.

Dbank is to make official financial services open, transparent, and welcoming for everyone so that when financial requirements arise, individuals can access funds without being taken advantage of, according to a statement.

According to a World Bank report, over 110 million adults (79 percent) live in Pakistan, where 6 percent of the world’s unbanked people reside. Of these adults, 82 percent are women. After China and India, Pakistan is now the third-largest non-banking nation in the world, according to a statement from Dbank.

This story needs to change, and we can only make financial solutions available that are user-centric, exceedingly easy to use, and powerful. Tania Aidrus shared her vision for why they started Dbank, stating that they wanted their customers to have control over their finances and be able to make educated decisions.

Dbank plans to “democratize banking,” according to a statement from Johan Surani, VP at Sequoia Southeast Asia. “Dbank intends to eventually establish a digital bank focused on customers in the Pan-Islamic region, starting with Pakistan”, said Tania.

“Raast, the real-time payment system by the State Bank of Pakistan, and seamless digital identity through NADRA are the main building elements that make this the ideal time to launch a venture like Dbank. We have observed the multiplier effect that digital public infrastructure can have on the capabilities of the private sector to assist in the transition of economies from cash to digital, according to a statement from Jamali.

Image Credit: Dbank


Data professional, Writer and Thinker at TECHnicalBeep, aspiring to provide quality content with respect to "All things Startups" to our readers. It is important for the people that they are aware of how the world is changing and evolving daily, and how those ideas and innovations can potentially help grow the Ideasphere of the region.

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