Transportation technology startup drives expansion plans
Careem to strengthen its operating platform.
September 9, 2013 3:50 by Muhammad Aldalou
The UAE-based startup, Careem, which offers a chauffeur-driven car booking service, announced today that it has received funding of $1.7 million to continue its expansion plans into the Middle East region.
In a statement, the ‘ground transportation technology company’ reveals that STC Ventures, backed by Saudi Telecom Company, recently led the investment round that included prominent regional angel investors.
Founded by two former McKinsey & Company consultants in July 2012, the company currently operates in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha and Riyadh, with approximately 1,000 cars across its network.
Customers can order a chauffeur-driven car online or via Careem’s mobile apps. They can also track their rides in realtime, pay with credit cards and access receipts online.
The company focuses on serving the Middle East market and the cash infusion will be used to both strengthen its operating platform and expand into other cities in the region.
Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and managing director of Careem, says that this investment will accelerate the company’s regional expansion plans and further strengthen its operating platform, which needs to cater to the relatively complex logistics of the region.
“Given the lack of street addresses in the region, it is not straight-forward for a driver to find the user’s pickup location. Traditionally, drivers have relied on speaking to customers on the phone to guide them. Not only can that also be challenging at times, but also leads to a pretty poor user experience. Our aspiration is to provide a hassle-free experience where the driver will just find the pickup location without any help from the customer,” explains Sheikha.
According to the statement, in its first year of operation, Careem experienced rapid growth, with co-founder, Magnus Olsson, saying that personal referrals are the company’s “biggest source of growth”.
He adds: “Our customer feedback has been fantastic. More than 90 per cent of our customers consistently rate our service five out of five. We are looking forward to making our service available in more countries and to more consumers across the region.”
Angus Paterson, partner at STC Ventures, says that Careem is led by an exceptional team, which has achieved impressive traction in a very short period of time.
“We found a startup that is leveraging technology to solve a real problem in the region, bringing tangible benefits to consumers and businesses. We are thrilled to be onboard their next phase of growth,” adds Paterson.