Female fintech success in Pakistan


A female-led Pakistani start-up has raised more than a quarter of a million dollars in seed funding, in an attempt to expand nationally and eventually create an international foothold.

Beauty services platform, BeautyHooked, has closed a seed funding round of $280,000, led by Fatima Ventures. The start-up was founded by Sidra Tahla, a gold medallist from the University of Management Technology, and Cornell University alumna, Sahr Said; it allows users to search, review and book appointments at salons and spas.

Said stated that the start-up, which is based in Lahore, would sign with a company in Qatar in line with BeautyHooked’s strategy for international expansion.

“The funding will be spent on expanding operations in Pakistan and other international destinations,” she said.

“The seed fund is a great confidence booster for us.”

Said also confirmed that part of the funding from the seed round will be put into the development of the BeautyHooked app to integrate its processes and functionality with third-party tools and services.

BeautyHooked is the only start-up in Pakistan which specifically targets the beauty industry, but joins a small league of female-led start-ups in the country which have recently received lucrative investment deals.

“This is a momentous occasion and a first for the country,” Said said.

“[We] will hopefully set an example for more women in leadership and entrepreneurship.”

Said, who completed postgraduate studies in New York, turned down opportunities to remain in the USA in favour of returning to her home country to launch a business.

“I wanted to come back and change things for women in Pakistan…that’s how much I believe in the future of the country,” she said.

“I built BeautyHooked because I wanted to empower women.”