Uber rival Swvl raises R600-million for Africa expansion - TechCentral

Uber rival Swvl raises R600-million for Africa expansion

Swvl, an Egyptian app for booking minibuses, has raised US$42-million (about R600-million) as it looks to expand into other parts of Africa, including Nigeria.

The two-year-old company, which started in Cairo and also operates in Alexandria and Nairobi in Kenya, got the money from venture capital firms including Sweden’s Vostok, Dubai-based BECO Capital, China’s MSA and Endeavor Catalyst, based in New York.

“The plan is to be in at least two or three more African cities by the end of the year,’’ Mostafa Kandil, the founder and CEO, said by phone from Cairo. “Lagos, Nigeria is most likely the next market.’’

Swvl carries hundreds of thousands of customers each month, according to Kandil, an engineering graduate who once worked for Careem, a Middle Eastern-focused transport firm that Uber is acquiring.

Uber and Careem have both launched bus services in Cairo in the past year. Along with Swvl, they’re exploiting growing demand among the city’s 20 million people for transport options that are cheaper than taxis but more convenient than public buses, which are often perceived as unreliable and dangerous.

“We tap into the middle class and upper middle class, a segment that public buses in emerging markets don’t really serve,’’ said Kandil.  — Reported by Paul Wallace, (c) 2019 Bloomberg LP

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