Egypt-based transport-tech/mobility startup, SWVL, which also operates in Kenya and Pakistan — albeit, amid regulatory tightropes in the former — has today announced former Uber Kenya Country Manager, Dip Patel, as its General Manager in Kenya.
Patel was born and raised in Nairobi, after which he studied abroad at Vassar College in New York, as well as the London School of Economics and Political Science.
Until his appointment at SWVL, Patel was the Head of Growth at Apollo Agriculture – a Kenyan technology company that helps small-scale farmers maximize their profits.
Prior to that, he served as Uber’s Country Manager in Kenya having started as the company’s first Marketing Manager for East Africa; a role that saw him contribute to the brand’s launch and growth in the region.
Patel rose through the ranks to become Operations and Logistics Manager at Uber through which he launched state-of-the-art support centres focusing on driver growth and engagement across East Africa.
Per a press release, the move to appoint him has been advised by SWVL’s intent to add greater expertise and a deeper knowledge of the technology startup space in the country.
Co-founded by Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, SWVL launched in 2017, SWVL is a technology start-up allowing users to book seats in shuttles operating on fixed routes and timings from their mobile phones.
The Egyptian startup entered Kenya last year but it hasn’t been much of a rosy affair as there have been clashes with local road transport unions in Kenya.
Through this appointment, SWVL is also hoping to smoothen things in Kenya and solidify its presence in a country where it was forced to halt its services temporarily in October 2019 due to pressure from the local authorities.
Little, another e-hailing company that also launched a bus service last year, has since discontinued its bus-hailing operations because of local pressure, sticking solely to its cab-hailing service.
As recently as last month, Kenyan authorities said SWVL was operating illegally in Nairobi and there were even talks of arresting the company’s owners.
Mostafa Kandil, SWVL Co-Founder and CEO, announced the appointment saying that SWVL is excited to bring Patel on board to head the Kenyan business.
“We see the Kenyan commuter market as one with great potential and with a gap that we are working to fill using technology. We, therefore, needed to carefully select an individual with extensive experience in the Kenyan tech space and a passion for impacting the daily lives of commuters. I am sure we have made the right choice,” said Kandil.