Swvl, an Egypt-based ride-sharing company, is preparing for an IPO on the Nasdaq exchange following a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) valued at US$1.5 billion, making it a rare African “unicorn.”
Swvl a mass-transit system founded by Mostafa Kandil in 2017, allows riders travelling in the same direction to share a van or bus ride. The company’s innovative mobility solutions are assisting in the resolution of mass transit supply and demand difficulties in emerging regions, providing dependable, convenient, safe, and affordable transportation to underserved communities.
The startup is among the best-funded in Africa, with an estimated US$170 million raised including a US$42 million Series B-2 round in 2019, and is now active across 10 cities in Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Swvl’s gross revenue and markets have grown rapidly, with more than 1.4 million riders booking more than 46 million rides to date with thousands of drivers on its platform.
Swvl has now entered into a definitive agreement to merge with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, the first SPAC led by women, resulting in Swvl becoming a publicly traded firm.
The combined public company will be known as Swvl Holdings Corp and is scheduled to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker code “SWVL” with a valuation of around US$1.5 billion after the proposed deal is completed.
“We have succeeded in executing our business plan in some of the most challenging emerging markets, where inefficiencies in infrastructure and related mass transit systems represent a universal problem, and have now reached a critical inflection point where we are ready to share our expertise and technology with the rest of the world,” Kandil said.
“Queen’s Gambit is an ideal partner, who shares our core values and is committed to helping accelerate Swvl’s long-term growth plans. With their partnership, as a public company, we will expand our daily commuting offerings and enterprise TaaS services that remove barriers to seamless mobility for the populations that need it most. In doing so, we will create even greater value for all stakeholders and continue innovating best-in-class technology solutions that improve the universal, daily struggle of mobility for so many.”
Agility, a global supply chain leader with operations in many of Swvl’s major territories, as well as Zain, a leading mobile voice and data services operator with approximately 50 million active subscribers in several of Swvl’s current markets, have invested significantly in Queen’s Gambit and the combined company.
“When forming Queen’s Gambit, I was squarely focused on assembling a team of highly successful and strategically-minded women with unparalleled global relationships, to identify and then grow a disruptive platform that solves complex challenges and empowers underserved populations. In Swvl, we have found each of those things and more. Having established a leadership position in key emerging markets, we believe Swvl is ready to capitalize on a truly global market opportunity. We look forward to working with their team to create significant and sustained value for investors and all stakeholders alike,” said Victoria Grace, Queen’s Gambit founder and chief executive officer (CEO).