Swvl, a Cairo-based/Egyptian app-based mass transit system disrupting the way commuters travel in the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region, has announced its Series B round. The exact size of this round is not disclosed yet but it is believed to be in the tens of millions making it again one of the biggest rounds of funding in the MENA region. The round was exceptionally oversubscribed with participation from all existing investors as well as some new regional and local investors.
The round was led by regional venture fund BECO Capital, alongside Africa-based investor DiGAME and global VC fund Silicon Badia. Other investors participating in the round include Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Sawari Ventures, Oman Technology Fund, Dash Ventures, Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings and Emilian Popa.
According to Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of Swvl, “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. We will also continue developing world class technology that solves the daily struggle of 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”.
With the funding, Swvl will continue to solidify its position as a global leader in building tech-enabled public transportation and will start its R&D facility in Berlin, Germany.
Swvl was founded by three young entrepreneurs – Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, who have built a strong team with their most recent joiners such as Rafael Coronel, who founded Cabify’s (Uber of Latin America, Spain and Mexico) data science team and previously a Research Scientist at MIT. Emilian Popa, who was one of the key executives that scaled Rocket Internet in China, South Africa and Russia and Ahmed Eraqi who founded the Egyptian subsidiaries of regional household names such as Dubizzle and was most recently the Head of Business Development for Air Arabia.
Swvl emerges from a significant problem that emerging market commuters suffer from on daily basis – finding reliable, affordable and convenient public transport, which is a given in developed markets. In emerging markets, commuters are torn between two extremes: expensive on-demand ride-hailing services and less than reliable and inconvenient public transportation. This is coupled with a supply-side that operates at low efficiency levels. Swvl comes in to fill in this gap by providing an alternative that is more reliable and convenient than public transportation yet cost competitive.
20 months since inception Swvl has grown impressively from doing tens of bookings a month to hundreds of thousands of rides a month, serving tens of thousands of customers on its network of 200+ routes in Cairo and Alexandria.
Swvl widens access to new commuting solutions and, ultimately, seeks to re-model public transportation in other emerging markets. This year, the company has plans to consolidate its global position and bring the service to more markets that suffer from an inadequate public transportation infrastructure. UN reports on key trends in urbanization indicate that by 2030, 60% of the planet’s residents will be living in cities, creating a previously unknown demand for commuting services, and a US$5.4 trillion economic opportunity.
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