Careem, the MENA region’s locally founded app-based car service, today announced a Series C investment of US$ 60 million with The Abraaj Group (Abraaj) as lead investor. This funding represents one of the largest investments in the region’s emerging technology sector and will be used to accelerate market expansion and innovation in Careem’s car service across its core markets in MENA, Pakistan and the wider region. It marks the third round of fundraising by Careem and sees Abraaj join other leading investors including Al Tayyar, STC Ventures, Beco Capital, Impulse (a subsidiary of Kuwait Investment Authority), Lumia Capital and Wamda Capital. Al Tayyar remains the largest institutional investor in Careem.
Founded in Dubai in 2012, Careem is an app-based car service currently operating in 20 cities from Morocco to Pakistan. As a home-grown pioneer of MENA’s technology sector, Careem’s mission is to simplify people’s lives through reliable and affordable urban transport. In the last three years, the company has witnessed strong growth month on month of over 30% across its core markets of the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Having delivered millions of successful rides with tens of thousands of ‘Captains’ (drivers), this new investment will further strengthen Careem’s leadership position in the region. Careem plans to continue growing by partnering with regulators and governments to create jobs, improve livelihoods and empower women.
Careem will use the funding from Abraaj to invest in further growth in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia, introducing key new hires, accelerating its pace of entry into new markets, and developing innovative new products and services. The company was founded by Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, both former consultants at McKinsey & Company, and Dr. Abdulla Elyas. It aims to become the biggest consumer logistics business in the region.
Abraaj’s investment in Careem through its Funds builds on its thesis of investing in enterprises that cater to rising levels of urban demand in global growth markets and recognises the relevance of technology-led, “sharing economy” businesses with strong management and growth trajectories.
Commenting on the investment, Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, Partner at The Abraaj Group, said,
“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. We strongly believe that the combination of Careem and its management team with Abraaj’s track record of supporting regional champions will drive scale, efficiency, and produce significant public policy benefits. We intend to equip this business fully to rise to the challenge – and take leadership of this segment”.
Mudassir Sheikha, Careem’s co-founder and Managing Director, added:
“As we successfully close our third round of funding, we welcome our new investors and partners into Careem. The Abraaj Group brings unique regional insights, proven execution capability, and global resources we consider critical to realizing our mission of simplifying the lives of people in the region. We will continue to innovate our product, expand through the region, bring greater income generating opportunities to even more of our Captains, and recruit outstanding talent to serve a growing customer base across our cities”.
This recent development at Careem comes at a point when Uber is about to launch its services in Lahore. A portion of investment raised by Careem will be used for expanding its operations in Pakistan.