SWVL, Egyptian app-based mass transit system just raised $8 million in Series A funding, setting a new record for the largest round of funding to be pumped into any tech start-up in Egypt, an also the biggest round yet raised from the Middle East.
The round was led by BECO Capital, DiGAME and Silicon Badia with participation from Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund and EDventure Holdings. The chair person of Esther Dyson will be joining SWVL’s board of directors.
SWVL, which defines itself as “Public transport for millennials” is an app-based mass transit system that aims to reinvent the daily commute of Egyptians and eventually the world by customizing public transportation for the public and maximizing their comfort. Saving their time and money.
SWVL CEO and co-founder, Mostafa Kandil told to Forbes Middle East, “Swvl intends to invest $16.9 million (300 million EGP) in the local market in the next three years to empower as many micro-entrepreneurs as possible in Egypt and the region and to become one of the biggest job creators in the country.”
He added that the funding is a stamp of approval for the company from several backers and will enable it to secure its place amongst the global leaders of modern smart transit solutions and to rapidly expand its services to other markets across the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa region within 2018.
Swvl ranked at 15th by Forbes Middle East of the 50 startups to watch in the Arab world. CEO, Mostafa Kandil alongside his co-founders Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah were also listed amongst the Top 30 under 30 entrepreneurs to watch earlier this year on the same publication.
SWVL offers its customers accessibility to fixed routes for a fixed flat fare, at prices up to 80% cheaper than on-demand ride-hailing services. It’s popularity has risen particularly in the cities of Cairo ad Alexandria, where it operates hundreds of buses.
This popularity comes as a result of the company allowing users to share on demand buses, in order for them to beat the frustrations of traffic. Most of their customers are college students and corporate employees. Majority of these are women.
The women prefer SWVL buses in order to avoid harassment they face on alternative means of public transport. The company will progressively work towards developing customized products for their different customers, as well as building their network.