By Reuters / Arabian Business
Careem has expanded into new markets this year, including Sudan, and has been trialling food delivery services since February with its acquisition of UAE-based startup RoundMenu
Dubai, Thursday 18 October - Middle East ride-hailing company Careem said on Thursday it had secured $200m in funding from existing investors, including Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, Al Tayyar Group, STV, and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten. The company expects to raise more to finance expansion plans, with Careem's VP of Global Brand Marketing stating that this is the first tranche of Careem's Series F funding round.
Dubai-headquartered Careem, the main regional rival of Uber Technologies, said it expected to raise a total of over $500m in its latest funding effort to expand into mass transportation, deliveries, and payments. This is in line with an article by Reuters, which mentioned that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500m from investors back in March 2018.
A source close to the deal told Reuters that the latest investment gave the ride-hailing company an estimated valuation of over $2bn. Almost 2 years ago, in December 2016, Careem was estimated to be valued around $1bn, when the company raised $350m from investors including Arzan VC, BECO Capital, Wamda Capital, STV, Lumia Capital, Endure Capital, Abraaj Group and Al Tayyar Group.
Commenting on the $200m fundraise, co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha of Careem said that “Internet-enabled services are having a profound and positive impact on our region, where the consumer internet opportunity is huge and untapped".
Careem, founded in 2012, says it has 30 million registered users in over 120 cities in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan. Hence, Careem competes head-to-head in many major Middle East cities with San Francisco-headquartered Uber, which plans to go public next year and could be valued at $120bn according to a Wall Street Journal report. Due to its previous fundraising efforts, Careem counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing as some of its other backers.
Additionally, aside from the ride-hailing aspect of the business, Careem has expanded into new markets such as food delivery services after buying a restaurant listing and reservation online platform RoundMenu in February of 2018. Reuters reported in July that Careem was planning to spend up to $150m to launch its food delivery business following the acquisition of the RoundMenu restaurant platform, with which it will copete with the likes of Deliveroo, Talabat and Zomato.