Egyptian Transport-Tech Startup Swvl Scores Huge Series-B Investment

By  |  November 23, 2018

Egyptian startup; Swvl, has announced the closing of a Series-B round co-led by three investors in its previous funding round; Dubai-based BECO Capital, Africa-based investor, DiGAME, and global investor, Silicon Badia. Although the exact value of the investment remains to be disclosed, the size of the Series-B round is believed to amount to “tens of millions of dollars.”

Established in 2017 as a result of the joint effort of its trio of Co-Founders; Mostafa Kandil (who previously held a position at Careem), Ahmed Sabbah, and Mahmoud Nouh, Swvl is a Cairo-based transport-tech company that connects commuters with private buses and allows them to reserve buses and pay the fare — all through a mobile app. According to the company, the app helps to facilitate bus trips that are between 50%-80% cheaper than on-demand ride services.

Swvl is currently available in Cairo and Alexandria. The startup is believed to provide its service on 200 fixed routes in both cities. The mobile app, which is available for both Android and iOS, gives users information on the shortest possible journey time for their destination based on the Swvl stations closest to them.

Also, Swvl mobile apps have seen over a million downloads, and hundreds of thousands of bookings are believed to be made possible through the app every month. The company also claims over 1,000 registered buses on its platform.  

“It is about time we build a multi-billion dollar tech company out of Egypt. With this round, we are committed to being more customer-centric than ever and to build top-class operations,” Mostafa Kandil, the startup’s Co-Founder and CEO, enthused in a conversation with Forbes.

He went on to declare that the startup will keep up with its effort at developing world-class technology that puts paid to the daily struggles associated with commuting in emerging markets. “This round is the biggest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt and one of the biggest Series-B rounds ever raised in the MENA region,” the CEO claimed.

It could be recalled that Swvl also made waves in the ecosystem earlier this year when it announced the closing a Series-A round worth USD 8 Mn in April (described by the CEO as the “the biggest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt), with the three mentioned investors in the latest round also playing a part alongside Saudi-based Raed Ventures, Kuwait’s Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, and EDventure Holdings Chairman, Esther Dyson. These investors are also featured in the latest investment round as returning investors.

And there are a couple of fresh faces too. Cairo-based Sawari Ventures also joined the Series-B round as the first Egyptian VC to invest in Swvl. The roster of investors in this round is completed by Jordan’s Dash Ventures and Emilian Popa of DiGAME.

The huge capital injection is expected to go some way toward helping the startup build its team, develop some smart technology departments, and expand its offering to other regions with Southeast Asia believed to be in its immediate plans.

It will be interesting to see how it all plays out, though, as the substantial influx of capital now puts Swvl in good stead to consolidate on its position in this space and take on the likes of Uber and Careem who, in recent times, are making moves geared towards getting in on the act. Uber has already launched Uber Bus for some routes in Cairo, and Careem has informed of its plans to roll out something similar by 2019.

WeeTracker had also reported that Buseet; a Cairo-based startup that connects commuters with buses, is looking to grab a slice of the pie after raising seed investment from Cairo Angels and 500 startups.

All these developments can be expected to serve up some competition to Swvl, and it will be interesting to see how it all unravels. In any case, the startup could fancy its chances of taking pole position with its now reloaded financial war chest.


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