Egyptian startup SWVL has announced a $US 500,000 seed investment by ride-hailing giant Careem. The deal marks Careem’s first ever direct foreign investment.
Founded in April 2017, SWVL is an app-based public transportation startup that reinvents the daily commute of Egyptians. It provides commuters with bus transportation services in Cairo and across major cities.
SWVL application locates where the passenger is, determines the fastest journey once destination is selected, and then shows the nearest bus station for passengers to start their trip.
Founder of SWVL Mostafa Kandil is a former Careem market launcher; he left Careem and began recruiting fresh blood from top universities in pursue of his entrepreneurial dream.
Kandil plans to leverage his knowledge of the industry to optimize on-ground operations early on to ensure smooth scaling. “We understand where the pain points are technically and operationally and we now have the resources to start tackling them,” says Kandil.
The fund will be used to accelerate SWVL’s product development and to increase routes and service frequency across the country. “This funding round is a huge endorsement of SWVL’s rising success in the Egyptian public transportation scene and will help us meet the pent-up demand for our services,” adds Kandil.
“We have been getting sensational feedback from our riders. More and more people are abandoning their cars and switching to our services every day,” Kandil continues “we are positive that, with Careem on board, we can move cities towards a transit first attitude.”
A recent World Bank report puts the annual cost of congestion in Egypt at EGP 50 billion. “And it’s going to get worse, more people are moving into cities every year and our transportation systems are currently stretched to the limit,” says SWVL’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Ahmed Sabbah, in a previous interview with Egyptian Streets.
Careem has recently raised $US 500 million from Saudi Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal and Daimler AG, the world’s biggest luxury-car maker, confirming Careem as MENA’s second unicorn.