Junaid Iqbal, Careem’s managing director for Pakistan, says their secret lies in localization of product and ability to attract world-class talent
Online taxi startups are hot property these days. There seems to be no limit to the amount of cash investors are willing to pour in to the likes of GrabTaxi, Didi Kuaidi, and Uber. While the majority of activity in this space revolves in markets like China, India, and Southeast Asia, there are other countries whose taxi industries are similarly broken and in need for disruption.
Careem is one such venture predominantly present in the Middle East and parts of Africa. Built in Dubai in 2012 by Mudassir Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, and Abdullah Elyas, the company has since expanded to 20 different cities across the region – from Morocco to Pakistan. It’s been giving international behemoth Uber a tough time, but, in the lack of official data, it’s difficult to tell which player is the dominant one.
On Tuesday, a statement on Careem’s site says the startup has raised $60 million in a series C financing round with the Abraaj Group as lead investor. Previous investors in Careem include Al Tayyar, Lumia Capital, and STC Ventures. The cash will be used to accelerate operations in key markets of Pakistan, the Middle East, and North Africa.
The statement says Careem has, on average, grown by 30 percent month-on-month since the past three years in its “core markets” of Saudi Arabia, UAE, and Egypt. Part of the money will also be invested in new products and services.
“The transport industry is witnessing a positive disruptive revolution from the use of technology. The headroom for growth in the ride-share and taxi-app industry continues to be substantial and is proving out globally – and with our markets being no exception,” said Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Partner at the Abraaj Group, in the statement.
Update on 10th November, 6:10 PM: Junaid Iqbal, Careem’s managing director for Pakistan, tells Tech in Asia their secret lies in localization of product and ability to attract world-class talent. He declined to reveal Careem’s valuation following the round, but said Pakistan is their next big growth market and that they’ve been “very successful” in the country since launch earlier this year.
Editing by Nadine Freischlad
This post was originally published on Tech in Asia.