Swvl, the Egypt headquartered app-based mass transit system, has completed its biggest ever funding in the Series-B round from a group of investors. The startup did not reveal the exact funding amount but said that it is in the tens of millions, effectively making it one of the biggest rounds of funding in the MENA region.
This round of funding comes shortly after the 20-month-old Egyptian startup closed $8 million in Series-A funding last April.
The new round was exceptionally oversubscribed with participation from all existing investors as well as some new regional and local investors and it 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.
Founded in 2017 by three young entrepreneurs - Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh , Swvl is a tech startup that enables riders heading in the same direction to share fixed-route bus trips for a flat fare up to 70% cheaper than competing on-demand ride-hailing like Uber and Careem.
With the new investments, Swvl will continue to solidify its position within tech-enabled public transportation and will start its R&D facility in Berlin, Germany.
“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 and it is about time we build a multi-billion-dollar tech company out of Egypt,” said Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of Swvl.
“With this round we are committed to being more customer-centric than ever and to build top class operations and we will also continue developing world -class technology that solves the daily struggle of commuting in emerging markets.” said the 25-year old Kandil who earned a spot on Forbes Middle East’s 30 under 30 ranking earlier this year, along with Swvl co-founders Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah.
Forbes Middle East has also ranked Swvl 16th in Top 100 startups in the Middle East 2018.
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 more than 200 routes in Cairo and Alexandria, with a plan to expand in 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.
Around 60% of the planet’s residents will be living in cities by 2030, creating a previously unknown demand for commuting services, and a $5.4 trillion economic opportunity, according to UN reports on key trends in urbanization.
Swvl has 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 was 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 subsideries of regional household names such as Dubizzle and was most recently the Head of Business Development for Air Arabia.