Another African Unicorn is on the Horizon (and it’s not Fintech)
Egyptian ride-hailing startup Swvl recently made the news following its plans for an initial public offering (IPO) after a merger with special purpose acquisition company, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital. The deal will up the valuation of Swvl to $1.5 billion, making it a unicorn.
This is quite a fascinating development, considering that up to this point, all the African unicorns (Fawry, Jumia, Interswitch and Flutterwave) were from the fintech industry. Swvl has proven that the continent’s ride-hailing industry has also got game.
Founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah, Swvl’s ride-hailing platform enables people heading in the same direction to share a van or bus. The company’s patented mobility solutions are driving the resolution of mass transit supply and demand issues in emerging economies, providing dependable, convenient, safe, and cheap transportation to underserved populations.
“We have succeeded in executing our business plan in some of the most challenging emerging markets, where inefficiencies in infrastructure and related mass transit systems represent a universal problem and have now reached a critical inflexion point where we are ready to share our expertise and technology with the rest of the world,” Kandil said.
With an estimated US$170 million in funding, including a US$42 million Series B-2 round in 2019, the business is presently operational in ten locations throughout Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. Swvl’s total income and market share have exploded, with over 1.4 million users booking over 46 million trips on its platform and thousands of drivers.
“Queen’s Gambit is an ideal partner, who shares our core values and is committed to helping accelerate Swvl’s long-term growth plans. With their partnership, as a public company, we will expand our daily commuting offerings and enterprise TaaS services that remove barriers to seamless mobility for the populations that need it most. In doing so, we will create even greater value for all stakeholders and continue innovating best-in-class technology solutions that improve the universal, daily struggle of mobility for so many”, added Kendil.
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