Watch out Uber and Careem — Swvl is growing fast!
Priya Wadhwa
What's the Deal

Watch out Uber and Careem — Swvl is growing fast!

Swvl raises $42M in Series C. Has any other startup seen such exponential growth?

Swvl fundraises:

April 2018: $8 million in Series A

November 2018: $30 million in Series B

June 2019: $42 million in Series C

Almost no startup in the region has seen funding rounds happen so quickly one after another as Swvl. After raising both Series A and B in 2018, Swvl has now raised $42 million in Series C.

Usually, we see 18 to 24 months between funding rounds, but Swvl is quickly breaking those records.

Swvl's Series C round was co-led by Swedish VC Vostok Ventures and Dubai-based BECO Capital. Other investors included China’s MSA, US-based Endeavor Catalyst, Oman’s OTF Jasoor Ventures, Egypt’s Sawari Ventures, Kuwait’s Arzan VC, Dubai-based Blustone, San Francisco-based Autotech, and Property Finder’s CEO Michael Lahyani.

Founded in 2017, the young two-year-old Swvl has become one of the best-funded startups in the region, having raised $80 million so far. Not many startups have come close to this rate of growth, or gained the interest and confidence of investors.

The popular bus-hailing service has been giving stiff competition to both Uber and Careem’s ride-hailing service, who have joined forces since March this year.

Essentially, instead of having one or two people in a car on the clogged streets of Egypt, Swvl allows people to book a seat on their minibuses that have fixed timings, fixed stops and fixed prices. Thereby bringing in the same transparency as other cab-hailing platforms, but for public transport. In the process, they are reducing the traffic (or at least not adding to it) and catering to local market needs.

We tap into the middle class and upper middle class, a segment that public buses in emerging markets don’t really serve.
Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of Swvl
It has had over a million users that have been making hundreds of thousands of bookings each month, with its service being available on 200 fixed routes in Cairo and Alexandria. It is now also available in Nairobi, Kenya.

This just goes on to strengthen the potential of Swvl to grow within the region. To this effect, Swvl also announced its partnership with Ford Motor Company.

Earlier this year, Swvl announced its plans to offer its services in seven major cities across the emerging markets in the Asian region by the end of 2019. However, its $42 million Series C seems to have changed this direction.

Speaking about its plans with the latest fundraiser, Swvl has announced it will be concentrating its expansion in Africa, with “Lagos, Nigeria, [being] most likely the next market.’’

The plan is to be in at least two or three more African cities by the end of the year.
Mostafa Kandil, the co-founder and CEO of Swvl

Speaking to Bloomberg, Mostafa Kandil, the co-founder and CEO of Swvl, said that the startup plans to expand to at least two to three more African cities by the end of 2019.

Swvl also said they’re planning to launch in Lagos within the next few weeks when speaking to MENAbytes earlier this June.

In addition, it announced that part of the funds raised in its Series B would go into opening a research and development facility in Berlin. We are yet to hear from Swvl on that front.

We are excited to hear about Swvl raising $42 million in just a matter of months after its $30 million Series B. Neither Uber, nor Careem have majorly penetrated into the huge African market. Tapping into the continent’s market potential will definitely poise Swvl for exponential growth. We believe it will become as strong, if not stronger, than Uber, and compete with it on a global stage within the coming years.