California mobility and ride-hailing company inDrive, which is also active in the Mena region, has raised $150 million in a debt-financing round to support its global expansion strategy.
The funds, provided by General Catalyst, a US-based private equity firm, will be allocated for inDrive's marketing expenditure, including user acquisition and retention costs, the start-up said on Tuesday.
General Catalyst also participated in a $150 million series C funding round in 2021, which valued inDrive at $1.23 billion, giving it unicorn status.
Unicorns are start-ups that have a market value of $1 billion or more.
The investment enables inDrive to maintain its "high double-digit growth rates, improve the quality of our offering and develop new business verticals", founder and chief executive Arsen Tomsky said.
"InDrive is in a strong financial position and has a choice of financing instruments that best suit its requirements," he said.
"This financing reflects General Catalyst’s conviction in our ability to continue to successfully expand into new communities and new business verticals in the coming years.”
Ride-hailing has become popular over the years as it provides a convenient alternative for public transport users who can summon a ride using their smartphone apps.
Several companies have tapped into the market, most notably Uber, Lyft and, in the Mena region, Careem.
InDrive is available in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia.
Revenue in the ride-hailing and taxi industry is expected to hit $332.5 billion in 2023 and grow to $378.8 billion by 2027 at a compound annual rate of 3.31 per cent, data from Statista shows.
Additionally, 55 per cent of total revenue will be generated through online sales by 2027, with the number of users in the sector projected to rise to about 1.45 billion by 2027, it said.
InDrive has so far raised a total of $387 million from five funding rounds, beginning with a $5 million series A investment in 2017, according to start-up data platform Crunchbase.
It has since diversified from ride-hailing to offering courier and freight deliveries, as well as home improvement, beauty, tutorial and handyman services.
General Catalyst said it was "optimistic" about inDrive's "sustained growth".
"We are excited to back a business that we believe has a strong mission and benefits so many communities around the world," the private equity firm said.
Launched in 2013, inDrive currently serves more than 700 cities across 47 countries — up from 37 in 2021 — and has provided more than 2 billion rides, according to its website.
The company was the fastest-growing international ride-hailing app in 2022, it said, quoting figures from data.ai, the technology intelligence platform formerly known as App Annie.
Its app registered a 45 per cent annual increase in downloads, rising to 61.8 million in 2022, from 42.6 million in 2021, to become the world's second-most downloaded ride-hailing app on Apple's App Store and Google Play, it said.