Recently-launched Egyptian ridesharing startup Swvl has raised US$500,000 from Dubai-based ride-hailing service Careem to help it expand across the region.
Disrupt Africa reported in May on the launch of Swvl, a mass-transit system that enables riders heading in the same direction to share a ride in a van or bus.
The service operates fixed routes for a fixed flat fare at prices that are up to 70 per cent cheaper than on-demand ride-hailing services, with no surge or peak pricing.
The investment from the Dubai-based Careem’s will see the startup expand across the country and the MENA region.
“Swvl and Careem share a similar mission in that we both wish to solve the transportation challenges facing the MENASA region,” said Magnus Olsson, co-founder and chief experience officer (CEO).
“Our investment in Swvl 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 startups.”
Swvl co-founder Mostafa Kandil said the plan was to fully re-engineer and re-model public transportation, not only in Egypt, but across the region. Kandil has a track record in the space, having worked at Careem as a market launcher before founding Swvl.
He told Disrupt Africa he saw an opportunity to provide an attractive service at a competitive price through mobilising fleets of buses that were originally used to transport tourists but are now underutilised and depreciating in value due to the touristic recession Egypt has seen.
“People are torn apart between expensive on-demand ride-hailing services and low quality public transportation. We think that there is an urgent need for an alternative that is reliable yet cost competitive,” Kandil said.
“I wanted to exploit the untapped potential locked in buses that are either off the road in the off-season or parked due to low touristic activity to address this issue while providing tourism companies and bus owners with a better return on their vehicles.”
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