According to Bloomberg, SWVL , which started in Cairo and operates in Alexandria and Nairobi in Kenya, and is also a member of Nairobi Garage got the funding from venture-capital firms including Sweden’s Vostok, Dubai-based BECO Capital, China’s MSA and Endeavor Catalyst, based in New York.
“Myself and my team are incredibly lucky to have reached this, but we feel we haven’t yet scratched the surface. Our ambition is not to be local or regional, but to bring Swvl to every single emerging market that could need it,” he said.
He further added,”We are quite lucky that before starting Swvl, we got the chance to get good education, travel abroad and truly become global citizens who felt the itching need to build a beacon of hope out of Egypt. The only thing we could do is to try to play a very minor role in the lives of people who Swvl is built on and give a chance to their kids to receive the highest levels of education, so they can go on and build the next 100 unicorns out of Egypt.”
Mr Kandil also said that as part of SWVL’s to commitment, they will provide 1 MN EGP (roughly $60,000) to provide a lifetime free education to kids.
“May we be an inspiration to 1,000s of companies that come out of Egypt that become much bigger than Swvl,” he concluded.
Founded in early 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, Swvl is currently available in Cairo, Alexandria, and Nairobi. The startup connects commuters with private buses, allowing them to reserve seats on these buses and pay the fare through company’s mobile app.
The buses available on Swvl operate on fixed routes (or lines). Swvl does not own the buses or employs the drivers but has signed different partnerships to help drivers and operators with financing of the vehicles.
The company recently also partnered with Ford to have its operators use Ford Transit minibus as preferred vehicle of choice.
In Kenya, Swvl was one of the first startups in the region to introduce app-based mass-transportation but now it faces competition from Little who launched a similar service.
With a population of over 20 million people in Lagos, SWVL is set to face competition from other companies already operating or offering what is now termed as ‘Mass Transit as a Service’. Some key competitors will include ZENO, which offers a bus service with a schedule-based system that is both time-based and route-based.
Another indirect competitor could be Gokada, a Lagos-based on-demand motorcycle-based ride-hailing company that recently raised $5.3 million investment.
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