Cairo-based Transport-tech Pioneer Swvl Raises USD 42 Mn – Largest Funding Round In Egypt’s Startup Ecosystem

By  |  June 20, 2019

Uber’s Egyptian rival Swvl, transport-tech startup, has secured USD 42 Mn in funding in an investment round co-led by Swedish VC Vostok Ventures and Dubai-based BECO Capital with China’s MSA, US-based Endeavor Catalyst, Oman’s OTF Jasoor Ventures, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Kuwait’s Arzan VC, Dubai-based Bluestone, San Francisco-based Autotech, and Property Finder‘s CEO Michael Lahyani joining in.

In the wake of telling African expansion for the Cairo-based ride-hailing firm, the investment comes several months after Swvl secured Series B funding worth “tens of millions” at a valuation to the tune of USD 100 Mn.

The latest financial injection brings the company’s total disclosed funding to at least USD 80 Mn.

With the investment, Swvl is planning to take its services to other African countries. While it already operates in Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt, and Nairobi in Kenya, it intends to be in at least three or more African cities by the end of 2019.

The startup previously announced that it would be expanding to Africa’s largest city, Lagos, by mid-July with an initial 50 buses. Therefore, the investment could not have come at a better time.

Meanwhile, the Egyptian transport service provider also has plans to expand to Uganda, pending official confirmation. The initial plan was to be present in seven megacities by the end of the year, including some Southeast Asian metropolises. But Swvl has obviously re-planned to focus on Africa’s 1.2 billion population and address pressing logistic issues in the meantime.

Swvl, founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, uses a mobile application to connect commuters with private buses, allows them to reserve seats on the vehicles and pay for fares online. The company neither owns buses nor employ the drivers, but has struck many deals to help drivers and operators with vehicle financing.

Earlier on, the mobility startup entered a partnership agreement with Ford, one that will see the Ford Transit minibus as the choices vehicles on the Egyptian company’s routes. The development linked the Transit with an app-based mass transit system that will enable commuters in Egypt’s major cities to enjoy an affordable alternative to existing transportation services.

Swvl has broken funding records on two occasions. It raised USD 8 Mn in Series A in April 2018, which was the most significant funding round for an Egyptian tech startup. Now, its USD 42 Mn reception is the largest-ever funding round for the Egyptian startup ecosystem.

The startup faces competition from Uber and Careem, though it was the first to introduce app-based transportation services in the North African country. Swvl was previously funded by Middle East ride-hailing firm Careem.

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