Saif Ali of Dastgyr Explains the Opportunities for Digital B2B Entrepreneurship in Pakistan

July 16, 2021 | | 0 Comments


Saif Ali from Dastgyr shares knowledge on idea validation, connecting with stakeholders, innovative tech B2B, and the fast-growing startup scene in Pakistan. Dastgyr is a tech platform that helps emerging and local businesses manage their inventory more effectively. More specifically, the initiative is a B2B e-commerce solution working with mom and pop stores throughout Pakistan. Local businesses in the area usually experience fragmented service when trying to coordinate between receiving inventory from distributors and matching the demand of consumers. Businesses often pull from their savings to make up for gaps between the two. Dastgyr creates an option that saves local businesses in Pakistan money and time.

Dastgyr started testing the idea with a pilot period from May 2020 until August 2020. Colliding the idea with reality, Saif says that the founding team literally the pilot conducted deliveries themselves and used their own homes as the warehouse for their work. Through this idea validation, Dastgyr confirmed that there was utility for the stakeholders involved in the service. The product-market fit was there. Saif explains that the team sought investors after the pilot, and officially launched in September 2020.

Being a company based in Pakistan, Dastgyr is responsive to the culture of the region. Saif mentions the precautions and care of following regulations specific to the region. Within the region Dastgyr operates, there are laws built to respect the lens of Islamic belief that businesses will find in similar locations, such as Egypt or Saudi Arabia. Saif notes that this is natural when thinking of the history and culture of the region. Not originally from Pakistan, Saif shares his observations of the current state of business, tech, raising VC funds, and international expansion in the Pakistan startup market.

Adjusting to the region was not the only new piece of information for Dastgyr to learn. When having such a direct relationship with the local businesses, the initiative found ways to approach interactions with business owners. Saif shares the concerns of communicating with business owners who are less tech-savvy, or who were adding Dastgyr to their business after decades of working manually. Once Dastgyr is set up, everything creates a positive ripple effect. Saif shares a few of the positive impacts the team recognizes as the initiative helps the community.

Young people in Pakistan are showing great interest and innovation in how they incorporate technology. Saif points out that access to information allows young people to actively research different career paths. Young people are experiencing a level of enthusiasm to participate in the market that signals a shift. Since the nearby markets are growing in similar ways, there are many opportunities to share insights.

Saif expresses his shared excitement of what the future holds as innovation happens inside of Pakistan and nearby hubs in the region: 

“This is the precipice of something very large and very exciting, and I’m just glad that I get to be a part of it.”

–Saif Ali, Dastgyr

If you would like to learn more, you can visit their website, Instagram, Twitter, or Linked-In.

Read Full Transcript

Adam: [00:00:00] Welcome to People Helping People, the podcast to inspire greater social change and give you ideas on how to take action. I'm your host, Adam Morris. Previously we've had Dalia Kamar on the podcast to speak about building purpose-driven entrepreneurship ventures in the middle east. Today, we travelled further west into a conversation with Saif Ali, from a tech startup, Dastgyr out of Pakistan.

Dastgyr uses technology to help emerging and local businesses manage their inventory more effectively. So to speak more about empowering local businesses, Saif Ali welcome on the podcast.

Saif: [00:00:34] Hey, Adam, thank you for having me glad too.

Adam: [00:00:37] super excited. Can we start off, can you tell us a little bit about what you're building with Dastgyr?

Saif: [00:00:42] Yeah, absolutely. So in a nutshell this is a hypergrowth B2B e-commerce platform and the core concept behind it. The supply chain for mom and pop stores in Pakistan and the larger mean app region is quite fragmented, right? There's a lot of problems up and down this value chain for both suppliers and retailers that we're aiming to solve through technology.

So today we have an app that's launched and in a little less than a year's worth of operations. We have delivered orders to 35,000 mom and pop retailers that are worth millions of dollars. And these are retailers that are ordering their wholesale inventory through that app the same way you and I would order shampoo and Amazon, right?

So it's a complete marketplace and it solves that fragmented supply chain problem for them so that they can sell more inventory focus on what matters.

Adam: [00:01:39] Can you dive into this a little bit and just describe, what this problem is like for a mom and pop store and what they actually face. What does it mean to have a fragmented supply chain?

Saif: [00:01:51] What I mean, when I say fragmented, is that typically what happens right now with FMCG distribution is that oftentimes the delivery. And, the visits that the order bookers make to these stores are unreliable or ill timed, it's not consistent, right? So for a person that's running a business, they have to be able to manage inventory in a way that they can plan for it.

Now a distributor for Pepsi-Co, let's say, is supposed to come on a fixed Sunday of every week, but sometimes he doesn't show up until Tuesday. And what do you do when you've run out of stock in between those two days, you're bleeding customers who are showing up asking for a high running SKU that you just don't have in stock.

And typically what these retailers would have to do is spend 15 to 20% of their working time in one week visiting wholesale markets on their own. Often during working hours, which means they'd have to close their shops just to buy the inventory that should have been delivered to their doorstep. Now they don't have to do that.

So they don't have to rely on FMCG, traditional distribution to begin with. But even if they still do choose to, they can order a small orders from the Dastgyr's app whenever they choose to. And we'll always give them guaranteed 24 hours delivery. In addition to that, there's a helpline , there's other benefits like micro-lending loyalty programs, et cetera, et cetera, deals and discounts.

And really the biggest benefit is the marketplace, right? So you've got your tea, you've got your candies, your sugar your tissues, whatever that retailer needs, the stock is available in a one-stop shop solution.

Adam: [00:03:38] Got it. So for the customer coming in and they can visit one shop and get what they need, they don't have to worry about something being out of stock this week and having to find it from multiple different stores. And then it sounds like you're also really helping these mom and pop stores where they have a lot of inventory.

And if they run out of something, they no longer have to go down to the wholesale market, to find it and buy it to restock it.

Saif: [00:04:05] Yeah, exactly. And you'll see this in almost every emerging market similar companies like ours have sprouted up and are seeing major success. You have to operate in Africa, headquartered in Kenya, right? And they're operating in multiple markets. They've raised a good amount of funding and they've got that product-market fit.

And that validation already, you have growth, sorry. In the Philippines, you have Bula in Indonesia, you have a jumbo tail and or on in India and Oran is already a unicorn. So the whole point is that in these emerging markets B2B trade is a problem. And if it needed to be disrupted, it needed to be fixed.

And like I said, it's a problem for both suppliers and retailers, right? For suppliers, their reach is limited. And for retailers the inventory that they need, literally the thing they need to run their business isn't made available to them easily. So we're able to solve that problem on both ends.

Adam: [00:05:04] And you speak of emerging markets. Can you paint a little picture of how business is done differently? You're talking about helping his mom and pop shops, Are they a big part of the market? How do people interact with stores and goods differently in Pakistan?

Saif: [00:05:18] Yeah, that's a great question. So SMB retail in Pakistan is worth about $120 billion. It's almost half of our GDP. And these neighborhood stores in, or do we call them , which essentially means corner store or convenience store. These stores are often like hubs or small little communities, small little localities.

And plenty of them in the neighborhood, but each one has his own, his, or her own relationships with their customers. Who've probably been going to the same person for years. So culturally it's a huge part of the fabric and economically it's massive. The opportunity here is massive.

So ultimately. Our aim here is to uplift these SMEs, to be able to sell more inventory. And if they can tell even more, they can contribute even more to the GDP. And furthermore, majority of these people in Pakistan and similar emerging markets are unbanked. So we're slowly introducing them to formal transactions.

We're slowly going to bring them into that net with FinTech products, right? We've already got partnerships with financial services companies to offer them micro lending, to be able to buy product on credit under buy now pay later schemes or micro lending to offer them more working capital.

You wouldn't believe these stores they're typical of working capital in Pakistan is between two and $3,000. Per month. And if we were to give them an additional thousand dollars, that's a game changer for that retailer that would allow them to be able to expand into a new category and create a new section for cosmetics, let's say, or perhaps offer, or be able to buy refrigerators and offer a refrigerated chocolates to their customers.

Which would increase his margins, increase his profits. And again, because we're a marketplace, not only can he get that micro loan from us, he can also buy all of those products under all of those various categories.

Adam: [00:07:11] So two to $3,000, that's not very much for inventory. So if you're able to provide micro lending that's huge. It sounds like you're also saving them a lot of time from having to go out and acquire that inventory.

Saif: [00:07:23] Time is a major aspect of it. If you look at it like I said, typically they'd have to make two to three trips a week to wholesale markets on their own to buy stocks. And you also have to give it to them that you have to give them the credit or cut them some slack. That's, they don't have the capacity to be able to plan for their inventory or plan for their supply in the most efficient way possible.

And at the SME level retail sales go up and down, typically his cyclical trends may have been off by one or two cartons for this week. But what does he do when he's out of stock in the middle of the week, right? He has to go to that market and you have to procure those high running SKU just to keep this customers.

So that's also why our minimum order value is just 1000 Pakistani rupees, which is about what $6. And the idea there is that they can even place the smallest of orders just so that we can ensure that they have, complete availability of whatever stock they need whenever they need it.

Adam: [00:08:24] Fantastic, now how long has Dastgyr been in operation?

Saif: [00:08:30] Dastgyr started in may of 2020 from May till about August was our pilot. We were testing the idea. The founding team was literally conducting deliveries themselves. We were warehousing in their homes, and once we saw the validation, once we saw the product market fit we started pitching to investors.

And we raised a healthy angel round, right? The founding team also has excellent credentials. All of them were early teammates at some of the biggest startups in Pakistan and the larger meetup region like Careem there, Oz airlifts, which at the time had raised flex funds, largest series a.

So a lot of the investors that were coming on board had already previously interacted with them in the ecosystem as well. And. Once we got that on the app officially launched in September of 2020. So officially it's been about nine months of operations and yeah, 35,000 customers served millions of dollars worth of goods delivered.

We've got we're operational in both Karachi and Lahore. And it's been amazing. I wish I could disclose the numbers to you just to communicate the hypergrowth that we've seen, but I can give you an idea that we were calculating sales metrics a couple of days ago, and it was a big moment of, we realized something really fun that the daily revenue that we hit three or four days ago was the total combined revenue that we had hit in July.

And the entire month of June.

Adam: [00:10:05] That's fantastic. Now, just looking back at this last year and starting a business during the pandemic how has that affected launching a company, but also how has it affected the customers that you serve?

Saif: [00:10:19] E-commerce has been COVID has been a boon for e-commerce right. Worldwide. The concept for Dastgyr actually came about because of COVID. It was my co-founder who was visiting his neighborhood convenience store. Like you always would on a typical Sunday morning. And again, like I said these are, neighborhoods, fixtures, community fixtures, right?

There's a, Hey our co-founder has been going to the same guy named Abul for 20 plus years, right? To buy milk and eggs. And one fine day during the pandemic, during the lockdown, he visited up those store, which he would always remember to be completely packed, customers just lined up clamoring to get their own stuff.

And Abul wouldn't have a moment to breathe, but that particular day there wasn't a single customer at a store. Most of the shelves were empty. And that young man was sitting there pretty dispondent. And when's the habe asked him if everything was all right, the guy broke down and he spoke about how because of COVID the supply chain that was already fragmented, had been completely disrupted.

That entire chain had been completely disrupted. There was no visibility on when distributors would be operational again. No visibility on any of the stock that he had already ordered through them. And he was upset that he couldn't service customers. Couldn't do the work you've been doing for two decades.

And it was that, and, multiple subsequent conversations with other retailers in both cities that led them to realize that there's a major problem. And the problem has just been exacerbated by COVID, but that problem has always existed. And it's going to persist unless we do something about this.

And they were both already technologists, right? Early team members of Airlift. So they could very easily put that solution together. And they convinced a couple of their colleagues from Airlift to come and start this with them. And the rest is history.

Adam: [00:12:13] Wow. And if you just think about the context of that, it's not just one mom and pop store that's disrupted. If that supply chain is fragmented, then that's hitting across the country. That's a huge portion of the GDP and just people's livelihoods their ability to do business, the ability for people to get the products that they need.

So having a better system in place to, to facilitate that sounds like it's critical to growing and developing.

Saif: [00:12:40] Yeah, precisely. And now again, the aim is not only to, of course the economy has bounced back right in Pakistan. We're doing much better now. Also the COVID situation is fairly under control compared to other countries. But the aim here is to lift them higher than they ever were before. So if they were previously contributing to 40 or 50% of the GDP, we need to have ways to bring those numbers up.

We need to be able to drive higher GMBs for them by offering them the services that they previously never had access. The idea of 24 hour delivery and this whole concept of B2B e-commerce has just emerged within the last 18 months, or so. There are multiple companies who are competing for the same pie, and. Now it's again, it's a godsend for these retailers, right? We speak to customers every day. Everyone from an intern to the co-founder makes customer calls. And for the most part, what we hear is nothing but positive reviews about how much this has helped them uplift their business.

And that addition of working capital or buy now pay later schemes across the board. Previously, what would happen is. One-off distributors would give them trade schemes depending on their own particular business models. So the PepsiCo distributor, because that business is very large, for example, just a reference can afford to give retailers credit, but others can't right. Whereas we're giving them credit. Or buy now pay later schemes across the board on whatever they choose to put into their basket on whatever they need

Adam: [00:14:13] So you're not restricted to certain pot products that you can put into your inventory.

Saif: [00:14:17] Precisely. And because it's a purely cash business. And it's just about rolling cash for them. It's far easier for them to be able to buy product on buy now pay later schemes. And that gives them more visibility as well, right? Like, all right, I'm I owe this to give this much money. I have to drive this amount of sales in the next seven days to be able to pay off the loan that I've taken, et cetera, et cetera.

It also helps again that all of the buy now pay later skews that we run are Sharia compliant, Islamic law compliance, which is also really important in this region. And yeah, it's been.

Adam: [00:14:52] That's neat. Can you tell me just a little bit more about some of those regulations around the compliance? It sounds like a, an important.

Saif: [00:14:59] Yeah, so Islamically, we're not allowed to pay interest, So these loans are underwritten in a way where they do not pay an interest per se. They pay a flat fee, a flat premium fee.

Adam: [00:15:13] Interesting

Saif: [00:15:14] Again, this is important across the Muslim world, right? You'll see the same thing in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Adam: [00:15:20] Now, you didn't grow up in Pakistan. You've been there for about nine years. Can you share a little bit about some of the differences about life in Pakistan? When it comes to entrepreneurship and starting businesses from what you've seen elsewhere.

Saif: [00:15:31] Yeah, of course. I can tell you that Pakistan has really emerged as a fertile landscape for entrepreneurship in the last few years. The security situation has entirely been calmed down the economics of it all. If you look at the fact that 60% of our population is under 30.

We've now got a hundred million broadband internet users, right? That's why all of these technology startups are just flooding in, literally right now, 2021, Pakistan is having a major watershed moment and it's startup ecosystem. I can tell you thus far, it's just the month of July and we've already raised about, I think $120 million in VC.

Total as compared to $60 million in all of 2020. So this is the most VC funding that's come in this such a short span of time. And this is happening because you have so many industries being disrupted all at once. Taking advantage of the young population of the internet penetration across FinTech e-commerce banking and the opportunity is massive, I can also tell you that Pakistan was the fourth largest mover last year in the world bank's ease of doing business index. If that means anything, a bit of a mouthful,

Adam: [00:16:55] Ease of doing business index.

Saif: [00:16:57] Yeah, no, it's the thing. And they're looking at like regulatory environment and the investment opportunities economic opportunity overall.

And it really is golden and if you're thinking of investing, this is the time.

Adam: [00:17:11] It sounds like a great change in the environment and impact us on for money coming in people being connected in new ways with technology and internet access and just environment where that capital couldn't be put to good use.

Saif: [00:17:25] Previously, the regulatory environment was a bit of a challenge, but the state bank and other similar public sector organizations have made massive strides to really make this a more conducive place for doing business and also for foreign investments and venture capital and everything of that sort, which is why what's happening now is that executives are also more confident getting into.

There are people leaving jobs at major consulting firms, banks, multinational organizations, like the Unilevers of the world to start, a company doing, just buy now pay later or another company that is that has created a stockbroker app or an e-commerce company just for grocery that's BC or another one.

That's B2B like our model. And again it's just, it's. It's like the turning point. It feels like the turning point that India had maybe a decade ago, right? Because about a decade ago, again, it was just, it was unreal if a startup had raised anything larger than a million dollars in their seed round.

And I can tell you now, like it's weird if anyone's raising less than a million dollars in a seed round in Pakistan. That's that trend that's developing that also international VCs have really started taking seriously. You look at the last few years, right? Players like first round capital, players like Kleiner, Perkins are now invested in Pakistan. Our seed round was led by SOSV out of Jersey, right? Another major VC. So these are important players in the global ecosystem and they're watching. All right. And they're putting their money on it. So I think that is, all the validation we need that there's definitely something happening here.

There are also predictions that I'm hopeful will come true because I really believe in what's happening here overall and technology that Pakistan will overtake Egypt this year in VC funding.

Adam: [00:19:21] Now, are there barriers to that capital for entrepreneurs that are starting out that still exists?

Saif: [00:19:29] Not so much those barriers are being cut down a bit by bit. And again, it is the fact that larger players have validated this market. That definitely makes it easier for new players to come in and. Oh, you're doing FinTech in Pakistan. We heard about first round investing in so-and-so and okay.

This makes sense. Let's have a meeting. Let's chat. Is that generally how it goes? When you're doing anything new it's also about who do you know, that's already doing it? Can you form any association with that? And if you do your research, what comes up? And like I said, he's a big names.

There are startups raising large amounts of money. And that, again, speaks to the fact of the overall economic opportunity that exists and all of the great work that's being done by executives, by technologists designers to pull off these amazing tech.

Adam: [00:20:18] Taking a look towards the future. What do you see some of the challenges are for entrepreneurs in Pakistan as they get more funding and continue to grow.

Saif: [00:20:29] I think the real challenge is going to be expansion international. So recently we've seen a couple of Egyptian startups start expanding into Pakistan, like swivel who have done really well, but it remains to be seen whether or when and how actually a Pakistani startup will, execute that international expansion.

And what that will look like. Because the idea is that we're hoping that when, for example, the Pakistani startup, hopefully Dastgyr goes into a market like Egypt will be more capitalized. We'll have a better understanding of what's happening in the ecosystem. And we'll be able to pull off that play.

But again, it is a large bet. It is a large experiment. That again, a lot of VCs, a lot of angels have put their money on. So that's one thing that remains to be seen. And again, in this entire ecosystem, we still haven't had one exit, right? In the main app region, everybody points to Careem as that success story.

But if we're strictly speaking about Pakistan, we haven't had a single exit. So again, it is still. But this is a watershed moment. It is picking up momentum and there are so many amazing tech plays that, I'm anything, if not just romantic about it.

Adam: [00:21:43] Can you tell me a Careem bit about Creem it sounds like they're one of the, initial players for funding. What they've accomplished.

Saif: [00:21:52] I think my AirPods are dying.

Adam: [00:21:54] No worries at all here, back with the audio format, number two. can you tell me a little bit about Careem it sounds like they are, a significant example.

Saif: [00:22:06] Again, Gave Careem an example for Pakistan. Careem was operational in Pakistan out of, multiple other countries in the main app region. Major success story for the region. The Pakistan connection is definitely strong because there tech was built here. For the longest, even as the group, their tech team was headquartered here.

And and ultimately, so they had amazing backing right from a barrage group and saw these kingdom holdings the massive ride hailing giant out of China, whose name I can never pronounce. Rakuten from Japan. So these are major global players that had taken part in Careem and then eventually.

A couple of years ago, it was acquired by Uber at 3.1 billion, if I'm not mistaken. So it was a major successful exit. The initial angel investors reportedly had 100 X return. So I think it's safe to say that we're all aiming to be the next Careem of the region. And if I had to put my bet on anything, it's, Dastgyr, I think I've stayed my career on this.

Adam: [00:23:17] Now, just looking back on your career, you've had some experience working with other brands in the fast moving goods space, right?

Saif: [00:23:25] That's right. So I, from 2018, til 2020 I was working with Unilever. As a dedicated resource and again, so that was really my first introduction to retail entry level engagement. And that was where I really understood the problems that both manufacturers and retailers were facing in the supply chain.

And again, for Unilever, it's a giant, and yet still. They have million dollar problems just in Pakistan alone. Because they still struggle with distribution in rural, for example, or their distribution isn't as efficient as it should be, even in urban centers or XYZ. It's a litany of issues that they're facing.

And Dastgyr again is here to solve those problems even from the suppliers. So for example, one of the many things we do is we provide them with actionable data. Which essentially is a revenue stream for us, but it gives them real-time insights at the trade level of what's happening, where their goods are moving.

We can do it so precisely that we can report to them what their one particular brands GMV is on a particular day, in a particular locality within garage.

Adam: [00:24:35] Before, just because of the fragmentation of the market, there was no way to track that or communicate that I can get that back to companies like Unilever that are producing them.

Saif: [00:24:47] It's not only the fact that it's been fragmented, but it's also the point that traditional distribution is not digital. They're not able to track every transaction every last mile, a number of SKUS, et cetera, et cetera at an individual store level.

So Unilever knows the number of cartons they've sold to a certain distributor. And then at the most they'll know how much that distributor has offloaded in certain localities, perhaps, but they wouldn't be able to get that precise individual level data point of how much they've sold to Seth

at SF general store. And how much he buys in July versus how much he buys in December. Or, and even if there is a shift, what's the reason for that. Can we get some analysis on that? Is it another competitor that's eating up that brands market share?

Is it a seasonal trend? Because we have access across the entire universe, right? We're not only selling that one Procter and Gamble product or that one Unilever product, we're selling their local competitors. So we can give them that analysis. Of course, without divulging their competitor's actual data, but yeah.

Adam: [00:25:55] that sounds like very powerful insight. If you can help people with that insight of where goods are going and what you need to put your attention on.

Saif: [00:26:01] Yeah. And look, the proctors and gambles of the world are not exactly the people that need the most empowerment. Who needs to be empowered is again the SME supplier, or the SME manufacturer. Because we're a marketplace, and we're trying to supply to the entire SME retail sector of Pakistan.

I can tell you today that beyond FMCG, the stationary category is live on our app, right? Because there's a lot of small stores that sell stationary of mobile accessories as a category is live on that. And the idea is that if there is a small scale manufacturer for stationary, they can enlist with us.

And their route to market is entirely taken care of I us, we'll promote it. We'll push it. We'll deliver it. All you have to do is take care of the first mile delivery tower sorting center, and we'll be able to push that product out into the retail.

Adam: [00:27:03] Fantastic. Now what have been some of the challenges for building Dastgyr in the last year?

Saif: [00:27:09] tech has been a major challenge for sure.

That's a pain for every startup. No, I, and I say it's a challenge because we're constantly trying to improve it, to make it as easy to use for a customer that may have not been very tech savvy previously. So often what'll happen is our onboarding agent will visit the store to, personally explained the value prop of Dastgyr, show him or her how our app works.

And what's happening. There is nothing short of behavioral change.

Cause we're really introducing them. We're giving them a real incentive to take this seriously that this is not just a Tik Tok right? This is not just a casual thing. You really should learn how to use this because you get so many benefits, it'll literally streamline your entire business. And by way of doing that, we're paving way for logistics companies for B to C e-commerce companies, FinTech companies, because we're creating that change. But apart from that, the challenges really have been that behavioral change overall of getting customers to understand and really commit to online ordering 99% of our orders are organic and online.

We do not take manual orders. We have a helpline for troubleshooting. If you've received damaged goods or if somehow your delivery was late or incomplete, but we insist on taking online orders from a segment of the market that previously was not comfortable with this. There's also a trust deficit here with anything new, there is a resistance to change, right?

Adam: [00:28:41] If you've been doing something the same way for 30 years, then, changing your business model

take some time.

Saif: [00:28:47] Yeah. And in comes this 25 year old kid with this pitch about how he's going to streamline my business. Yeah. But again, we've been able to pull it off, tens of thousands of customers have really bought into this. Competition that we have in this B2B e-commerce space is also very healthy.

And people ask me a lot about that. How do you feel about XYZ competitor company or their offerings or the fact that they raised this much money, et cetera, et cetera. But ultimately what they're doing is just increasing.

We're all on the same mission. I have no doubt that ultimately all of their customers will either become solely my customers or also become my customers because Dastgyr is the only one building a true marketplace.

Adam: [00:29:27] That's gotta be fun to be part of something that's, connecting so many individuals and has such a huge impact across the country.

Saif: [00:29:34] you're absolutely right. And again, the stories that we get from the field are just amazing. We literally hear back from retailers we've recently actually recorded and publish a testimonial. One of our best customers, oldest customers who talks about how with Dastgyr with the advent of B2B e-commerce, he's now able to run two separate stores that he owns.

Which previously was a huge struggle for him because of the fact that he was visiting wholesale markets at different times to supply both stores. So he could never really keep his fulfillment where it should be.

But today he's working, he's operating on a hundred percent fulfillment into stores.

So his income has increased by at least 50%. So he's over the moon.

Adam: [00:30:21] That sounds like a huge game changer. I love that.

Saif: [00:30:24] And also so many stories come out of this. The direct and indirect job creation that we're, the ripple effect is fantastic. Like for example, our fleet partners are currently contractors, right? These are people who drive the trucks and execute our last mile deliveries previously.

They were operating on very sporadic incomes, right? If, and when they'd get a delivery job, they'd be able to earn, maybe a daily wage. Whereas now they got a fixed income. And again, like the suppliers I mentioned now there are people who are considering becoming suppliers with the advent of B2B e-commerce right. I can operate this from my home. I want to sell my homemade soaps or I want to sell pink salt or anything that would be attractive to an SME retailer that they can potentially stock.

Adam: [00:31:10] And they don't have to go out and sell to a, a thousand different retailers. If they can provide it through Dastgyr.

Saif: [00:31:19] The bigger opportunity here actually is that yeah, of course we'll get them customers in Pakistan, but ultimately we will also expand internationally and ultimately it's very possible for us to export that homemade soap product to Egypt. And again, that's us putting up the capital. That's us taking care of all of the warehousing and logistics involved without the supplier having to move in there.

Adam: [00:31:47] Now one thing that you touched on earlier was just this huge change in Pakistan with the younger generation being really connected to the internet and technology. I'm curious, like what have you noticed in terms of how the culture is changing or I guess different ambitions that the younger generation has.

Saif: [00:32:06] So I think with access to information what you have is people really actively researching different career paths. Even now with the youth that The top talent in Pakistan that would previously follow very traditional career paths which is highly encouraged and highly sort of inculcated in Pakistani households stable jobs with very defined career ladder. And again, the proctors of the world to come into companies like us to Dastgyr, if you look at our team, the young ones that we've managed to bring on board are just phenomenal resources, right?

With excellent educational backgrounds could have been hired anywhere and have come in. Many of them within just six months of being here are functional leaders. Just because of the impact that they've created, right? These are true 10 X people, right? That's something we value a lot that we're only going to hire people who have that 10 X spirit a person may be a perfect fit on paper, but if they're not a culture fit, they're not coming on board.

And so that's definitely a change that I think is coming up because. These kids are able to see what's also happening in other markets. So if that even is that example and all these startups we have in Egypt and Saudi and UAE, And in the larger APAC region as well. And of course, India, right next door has so many amazing success stories, right?

Market dynamics are very similar, right. And again, like I mentioned, this period of time that we're going through is very reminiscent of that initial period of time where India's startup ecosystem was kicking off. I wouldn't be surprised if five, seven years down the line, a Sequoia opens up an office here as well.

I'm counting on it. And so that's definitely a major change that's come about. And then of course, I think there's a lot of more, a lot more civic involvement as well with just general civic education and, all these young people involved on a single platform, able to talk about these issues that matter able to talk about what's happening in the world and in their own country.

And they're able to draw those parallels, right? Like now we know we're fully aware of what's happening in the U S. Or what's happening next door in the middle east. And that's why we know that this is wrong or this we need more of, or that we need less. And it's always great to see that because Buxton again is ripe for technological and social change.

And that's definitely starting to happen now a lot more than ever.

Adam: [00:34:27] That's awesome. I feel like we've covered a lot of ground here. We started off, we talked about, Dastgyr and kind of your journey getting off the ground and really explored what the need is in Pakistan. With so many. Mom and pop stores and their need there, but also taking a step further and taking a look at how capital is coming to Pakistan and new ways and how the younger generations are being affected by that.

So that's really cool to hear all of that. Thank you for sharing.

Saif: [00:34:53] No, of course. And again I can't tell you enough. So everything I'm saying is more or less from an outsider's perspective. I didn't grow up here. I don't have that sort of. So there's no bias if you will, I'm reporting it like it is. And I can tell you I'm constantly trying to work with other startups and we're all happy to partner with each other.

We're all happy to help each other out. We're trying to take on initiatives to lift up the entire ecosystem as a whole capture the narrative of what's happening, because it really is. Just the tipping point, right? This is the precipice of something very large and very exciting. And I'm just glad that I get to be a part of it.

I'm glad that I get to, be a part of this member and helped shape that.

Adam: [00:35:34] How do people find out more about Dastgyr?

Saif: [00:35:37] or follow Dastgyr on LinkedIn? I think that's the place where we're the most active you'll see stories of our team, our culture, our customers, our suppliers and our product. You can reach out to me on LinkedIn as well. I'd love to chat with anyone, especially anyone involved in the startup ecosystem worldwide.

Because again, like I mentioned previously with other similar companies in other markets there are just so many learnings to be shared so many insights to be shared and amazing conversations could come out of that.

Adam: [00:36:07] That's fantastic. So that's Dastgry. That's D A S T G Y And thank you so much for joining me on the podcast.

Saif: [00:36:17] Thank you. Again, this has been fantastic

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