Careem, the leading ride-hailing service in the Middle East and North Africa, today announced it has invested in bus transportation network, Swvl, the brain child of former Careem market launcher, Mostafa Kandil, fulfilling its mission to build an institution for the region. The investment, $500k in seed funding, will be used to help Swvl expand into new cities and markets as well as roll out new product features within its app, including new payment options. In addition to the investment, Careem’s Chief Experience Officer and Co-founder, Magnus Olsson, will be joining Swvl’s Board of Directors.
“Swvl and Careemshare a similar mission in that we both wish to solve the transportation challenges facing the MENASA region,” said Magnus Olsson, chief experience officer and co-founder, Careem. “Our investment in the company is a clear bet on the value we believe Swvl will bring to the Egyptian people and further fulfills our promise to be a source of inspiration to local start-ups. We’re also proud to have played a part in promoting entrepreneurship in the region. Mostafa was an amazing colleague while he was at Careem, and we are excited to support him on Swvl as the company looks to expand its footprint and accelerate its growth.”
Founded in March 2017 by Kandil and his two co-founders, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah, Swvl’s mission is to provide affordable, reliable and convenient public transportation to the people of Egypt and other emerging markets. Swvlusers simply choose their exact pick-up and drop-off location and track bus movement so they know exactly what time it will arrive.
Currently, Swvl accepts payment via credit card, but with this latest investment from Careem, the company is planning to roll out four additional payment options over the next few months, including wallets, cash on delivery and more. In terms of expansion, the company expects to be available in all of Cairo by the end of this year and also plans to launch operations in Alexandria. In 2018, the company expects to expand beyond Egypt to other emerging markets in the Middle East and North Africa.
“With Swvl, we intend to fully re-engineer and re-model public transportation, not only in Egypt, but across the region,” said Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and chief hustler, Swvl. “Careem’s investment will enable us to achieve this goal, and at the same time, the company’s local knowledge will be invaluable to us as we continue to build out our offerings. We couldn’t have asked for a better partner, and we look forward to being a part of Careem’s mission to solve local problems and improve people’s lives.”
This isn’t Careem’s first foray into public transportation. In July 2016, Careem announced a partnership with NEXT Future Transportation to bring driverless transportation solutions to the MENASA region. NEXT’s battery-powered, self-driving electric pods can drive individually or by attaching themselves to other pods to form a bus-like structure where travelers can move freely from one pod to another. Additionally, in July of last year, Careem announced a $100M investment in research and development, opening up R&D centers in Germany and Egypt, focused on accelerating innovation in transportation-related technology infrastructure for the region.