Pakistani ecommerce logistics startup Rider looking to acquire BlueEx

By Ariba Shahid

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani ecommerce logistics startup Rider, backed by YCombinator, is looking into acquiring BlueEx the only listed Express Courier Logistics Company in Pakistan, it told Reuters on Thursday.

Venture funding in Pakistan plummeted to $6.8 million during the third quarter of 2023, dropping 87.7% year-on-year from the $55 million during the corresponding period in the previous year, after a global funding crunch and troubling macroeconomic and political circumstances in the South Asian nation.

"We are carving out and acquiring the e-commerce logistics business which currently operates under the brand name BlueEx. This is not an acquisition of Universal Network System Limited as a whole," said Salman Allana, founder and CEO of Rider.

If the transaction goes through, this will be the first acquisition of a listed company by a startup, and the first major acquisition of a company listed on Pakistan's Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) board at the Pakistan Stock Exchange.

The GEM Board is a listing platform created to facilitate growth enterprises, whether small, medium or greenfield businesses, for their capital raising needs.

While Rider has not disclosed the transaction value, it claims the acquisition will make Rider the third largest player in the ecommerce logistics space.

"That already puts us ahead of certain legacy players. Our contenders in the top three are legacy businesses who have maintained their lead through nationwide services," he added.

Allana said the acquisition will enable the startup to reach its goal of delivering one million monthly orders for over 3,000 merchants across 700 delivery locations; adding that the acquisition would allow Rider to make the best use of BlueEx's strong presence in the small and medium sized business segment.

Rider has raised $5.4 million in funding to date from international and local investors including YCombinator, Global Founders Capital, Flexport Fund, i2i Ventures, Fatima Gobi Ventures, Soma Capital, Rebel Fund, TPL e-Ventures and more.

(Reporting by Ariba Shahid in Karachi; Editing by Michael Perry)