Mideast ride-hailing app Careem raises US$200 million to expand, expects more funds

Mideast ride-hailing app Careem raises US$200 million to expand, expects more funds

Middle East ride-hailing company Careem said on Thursday it had secured US$200 million in new funding from existing investors, including from Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding.

Employee shows an advertisement for Careem on a laptop in his office in the West Bank city of Ramal
An employee shows an advertisement for ride-hailing company Careem, on a laptop in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. Picture taken July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman/File Photo

DUBAI: Middle East ride-hailing company Careem said on Thursday it had secured US$200 million in fresh funding from existing investors and that it expects to raise more to finance expansion plans.

A source close to the deal told Reuters the latest investment gave the ride hailing company an estimated valuation of over US$2 billion. Careem was estimated to be worth around US$1 billion as of December 2016.

Dubai-headquartered Careem, the main regional rival of Uber Technologies, said it expected to raise a total of over US$500 million in its latest funding effort to expand into mass transportation, deliveries, and payments.

Reuters reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as US$500 million from investors.

“Internet-enabled services are having a profound and positive impact on our region, where the consumer internet opportunity is huge and untapped," said Careem Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mudassir Sheikha in a statement.

Careem, founded in 2012, says it has 30 million registered users in over 120 cities in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan.

The US$200 million came from existing investors which includes Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, Al Tayyar Group, STV, and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten.

Careem counts German car maker Daimler and China's largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing as some of its other backers.

Careem has expanded into new markets this year such as Sudan and started trialing food delivery services after buying a restaurant listing and reservation online platform.

Reuters reported in July Careem was planning to spend up to US$150 million to launch its food delivery business following the acquisition of the RoundMenu restaurant platform.

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 US$120 billion according to a Wall Street Journal report.

(Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

Source: Reuters

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