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Pakistan top startup “Airlift Express” ceases operations

Pakistan’s highest-valued Lahore-based instant-delivery startup has shut down, permanently.

The company confirmed the decision to shut its business in a statement: “While the global recession and recent downturn in capital markets have affected economic activity across the board, it has had a devastating impact on Airlift and rendered its shut-down inevitable,” it said.

“On July 12, Airlift’s operations will shut down permanently. This has been an extremely taxing decision that impacts a large set of stakeholders and an emerging technology ecosystem.”
Airlift was launched in 2019 as a mass transit service that operated an Uber-like service for buses in Pakistan. As the Covid-19 pandemic hit the fifth most populous nation, Airlift scrapped its transit service and quickly pivoted to grocery delivery.

Airlift Express

Less than a year ago Airlift was flying high and had raised $85 million in a Series B funding round, the highest single round of investment raised by any startup in Pakistan.
The company’s fortunes changed due to the global startup funding crunch and some bad business decisions that increased its operating costs.
In May, Airlift announced a “strategic realignment,” laying off nearly one-third of its workforce and cutting operations from eight cities, to just three. It had also shut its business in South Africa.

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