After working as an investment banker in Canada for a decade, Halima Iqbal moved back to Pakistan in 2017 and quickly realized how difficult it is for women to access financial services. Then she met product designer and entrepreneur Farwah Tapal, who had recently returned to Pakistan from Spain, and the two created Oraan in 2018 to help women access financial services. Iqbal and Tapal said they are the first women entrepreneurs in Pakistan’s fintech space to raise a seed round.
In the latest development, Dice -- a London company that has built a platform to help people discover and attend live events that might be of interest to them -- has raised $122 million, a funding round that sources tell us values the company at $400 million.
Aspire, the Singapore-based neobank that wants to become an “end-to-end financial operating system” for Southeast Asian businesses, is moving closer to its aspirations with a $158 million Series B. The round consisted of $58 million in equity and $100 million in debt, and was led by an undisclosed growth equity investor, with participation from DST Global Partners, CE Innovation Fund, B Capital Partners, and returning investors MassMutual Ventures, Picus Capital and AFG. Aspire was founded in 2018 to provide working capital loans for small- to medium-sized businesses, but at the beginning of this year, it began to take a multi-product strategy. Its portfolio of services now include bank accounts for cross-border businesses, corporate cards and automated invoice processing, all of which are connected to financial management software.