Jatri raises Series A round led by SBK Tech

April 15, 2023

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Jatri, the preeminent platform for mass mobility in Bangladesh, has successfully raised an oversubscribed Series A investment round led by SBK Tech, a Singapore-based Venture capital fund along with participation from notable global investors, including ALSA, Genting Ventures, DVC, and Doha Tech Angels, among others. In addition, existing investors such as Reflect Ventures, Brain-Too-Free Ventures, Tocumsef Capital, and Sabr Capital also made follow-on investments in this round. This latest round consists of new and existing investors, stacking Jatri’s total venture investment to USD $5.25 million. The lead investor, SBK Tech, played a significant role in bringing in new global investors, and now with the fresh funds, Jatri will expand its operation to new cities and augment its existing services.

Mass transit in Bangladesh has long been characterized by its unorganized, traditional, and inefficient nature, with buses serving as the primary mode of transportation for most of the population. Commuters regularly face challenges such as overcrowded buses, inconsistent fares, and premium charges by conductors, while bus operators and owners grapple with pilferage caused by a lack of visibility and cash book-based record-keeping.

Jatri founders. L-R: Khandoker Taswar Zahin, Aziz Arman, Zia Uddin

Jatri is tackling the pain points faced by commuters, operators, and regulators in the public transportation sector with its full-stack services that aim to digitise and modernise the industry. The techenabled service offers operators and bus owners a centralized dashboard that syncs with every vehicle on the network, digitizes data, streamlines operations, and allows for better allocation of resources. Commuters benefit from standardized prices, transparency, convenience, and a broader range of transportation options. The company is currently focused on integrating digital payment options, which will enable the transition to a cashless society in an industry that has historically relied on cash transactions. This will allow the company to reach unbanked and underbanked segments of the population who have previously been excluded from formal financial systems.

Sonia Bashir Kabir, Managing Partner of SBK Tech and lead investor said, “We are committed to investing in startups like Jatri that directly impact the lives of ordinary citizens.” She further noted, “Mass mobility is a multibillion market opportunity that was inefficient, opaque, and largely un-bankable; this is an industry ripe for digital transformation and will lead to a cashless, Smart Bangladesh. Jatri’s unique value proposition has efficiently demonstrated that technology can solve problems of the masses at scale.

Jatri’s digital platform, which replaces manual and error prone paper-based reporting, has resulted in a significant increase in daily sales by 15-25% per bus, previously lost to theft and leakage. The company has processed over 100 million ticket sales. Recently, the Dhaka Road Transport Owners’ Association announced Jatri as the exclusive e-ticketing partner, starting with 5,650 buses operating in Dhaka city. This move has fuelled a surge in demand for Jatri’s services from bus operators across the country.

“Jatri’s large & growing network of bus partners is proof of the dire need for digital transformation in the Bangladeshi mass transportation industry. This fresh round of funding will allow us to continue to build momentum to create the 2.0 version of the mass public transport system. We are grateful for the support and trust we have received from our bus owners, operators, and more importantly, our commuters.” Said Aziz Arman, CEO of Jatri. Arman is joined by fellow Co Founders Zia Uddin and Khandoker Taswar Zahin. The trio brings deep knowledge and experience in tech, transportation, and logistics.

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