Careem invests in Egyptian bus transport start-up

Dubai company puts $500,000 in to venture started by former Careem executive

Careem, one of whose projects is driverless pods, has taken a stake in an Egyptian bus start-up. Courtesy Traccs UAE
Powered by automated translation

The Dubai-based ride-hailing firm Careem has bought a minority stake in a three month old Egyptian start-up that connects commuters with private buses in Cairo.

Careem invested US$500,000 in Swvl and Magnus Olsson, the chief 'Xperience' officer, as he is known and co-founder, will take a board seat.

Careem, which operates in 12 countries mainly in the Middle East, declined to disclose the exact size of the stake.

Swvl, founded in April by a former Careem executive, is a bus transport service where passengers can reserve and pay their fare through the company's mobile app.

The app uses the passenger's location and destination to find the shortest possibly journey time based on the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

"We want them to run and learn and develop at a very high pace and high agility and we believe the best way for them to do that is to stay independent," Mr Olsson said.

Careem said in June it would accelerate expansion plans after raising $500 million from investors, including the German car maker Daimler and Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding .

Swvl, which is not an on-demand service like the ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem, has 50,000 passengers and 200 buses using the mobile app, said the chief executive and co-founder Mostafa Kondil.

It is targeting 300,000 monthly trips by the end of 2017, Mr Kondil said. He declined to say how many monthly trips were being registered.

Swvl will use the Careem investment to increase its workforce, develop new app features, and to expand in Cairo and into other cities, including Egypt's second-largest city Alexandria, and to Middle East and Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Pakistan next year.

"We're planning to really improve our product," Mr Kondil said.

Future Beat

Your round-up of the stories shaping tomorrow’s world

Future Beat