IFC underwrites PickMe Series B capital raise

The Balance sheet of PickMe was strengthened in July 2020, when the International Financial Cooperation underwrote a “Series B” capital raise for the company.

“The current balance sheet enables us to not just survive the Covid crisis but to invest, innovate and grow during this time. In times of crisis comes opportunity. We are ready for this. I am confident when the world and Sri Lanka emerges from the pandemic PickMe will be a stronger and even more resilient entity,” the Chairman Ajit Gunewardene said in his message in the company’s annual report.  

He reiterated that the future acceleration and dominance of the digital economy has been clearly proven during the pandemic, and PickMe was perfectly positioned to be a key player in this environment. “The digital intellect and business execution knowledge that we have will be leveraged to entrench ourselves deeper in the economy. We pride ourselves on the home grown technology that we have created. There is no doubt it is world class. This is our edge. During the last five years we have invested multiple billions of rupees towards creating this domain expertise and we will continue to invest, innovate and add value to the economy.”

However, speaking of the regulatory support PickMe needs, Gunawardene adds, “in terms of support we would encourage the government to enable a level playing field to compete against the digital multinationals. This is relevant to all digital domains, not just us.  All digital platforms should incorporate an onshore company to carry on commercial activity. This will ring fence local operations and create transparency and a level playing field with local entities.”

Zulfer Jiffry, CEO of PickMe says despite the overall decline in revenue during lockdown, the company made some noteworthy achievements during the year and retained its position as a market leader in ride hailing. “The covid-19 crisis resulted in us launching the delivery of essential goods (“Market”) one year in advance of its original launch date. During the lockdown we did over 250,000 Market Place deliveries and we currently have listed over 300 Market Place merchants, including prominent brands such as Nestle, Unilever, Ceylon Biscuits Limited, Hemas, CIC Holdings Plc, Elephant House and Krest.

We plan to further invest in the delivery vertical in the coming months, as we consider this to be a natural hedge against our hailing business in the face of the uncertainty created by the Covid crisis.”

Essentially a technology driven company PickMe is currently involved in testing technology in many areas such as better routing algorithms, Data science and Machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. “Our tech is built for mobility and scale, and being local enables us to bring to market localized features much faster than our competitor.”

As a mark of their drive to continuously innovate and be the front runner in the digital revolution in the country, PickMe has launched their incubator program.  They are now in the process of incubating a Fintech company that has developed a personalized financial inclusion product and is seeking seed investment.

The CEO is optimistic about the company’s future and has confidence in his team’s ability to create a dominant force in the digital economy.