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Cairo-based SWVL, a ride-hailing company founded by Endeavor Entrepreneurs Mahmoud Nouh, Ahmed Sabbah, and Mostafa Kandil, successfully raised $42 Million in Series B funding co-led by Vostock New Ventures and BECO Capital, with participation from Endeavor Catalyst. An impressive milestone for entrepreneurship in the MENA region, this is the largest-ever funding round completed by an Egyptian company.
Founded in 2017, SWVL was created with the intention of helping the nearly 25 million Egyptian commuters overcome their daily transportation challenges, namely unreliable and inconvenient public transportation and expensive ride-hailing services. SWVL is an app-based transportation system which connects commuters with private buses, allowing them to book and pay for high quality bus trips on fixed and dynamic routes for an affordable flat rate. SWVL is currently available in Cairo, Nairobi, and Alexandria.
SWVL Co-founders (L-R) Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah, and Mahmoud Nouh | Image Courtesy: nilefm.com
This new funding will help SVWL continue to scale; Mostafa Kandil, the co-founder and CEO said that SWVL plans to expand to two to three more cities by the end of the year, including Lagos.
In a comment to Forbes, Kandil emphasized how this funding will improve their commitment to their customers and their ability to serve an emerging economy: “It is about time we build a multi-billion dollar tech company out of Egypt. With this round we are committed to being more customer centric than ever and to build top class operations. We will also continue developing world-class technology that solves the daily struggle of commuting in emerging markets.”
Since raising the round, the founders have pledged EGP 1 million to provide a lifetime of free education to their top captains’ (drivers’) children, highlighting their dedication to giving back to their communities and to creating sustainable jobs. It was this attitude of “paying it forward” that set the SWVL team apart, and led to their selection to the Endeavor network in February 2019 at the 85th International Selection Panel held in San Francisco. Exemplary of Endeavor’s mission and ability to foster serial entrepreneurs who will continue to create jobs and value in their communities, Mostafa Kandil is an alum of Careem, another Endeavor company based in the UAE, which was recently acquired by ride-hailing giant Uber. Today, SWVL receives support from Endeavor Egypt.
Endeavor Catalyst’s investment in SWVL illustrates growing investment momentum in the MENA region. Over the past two years, Endeavor Catalyst has doubled its portfolio in the MENA region and international investors have increasingly turned their attention to the region, with the amount of funding in MENA startups increasing exponentially each year. Endeavor Co-Founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg sees SWVL and others’ success as evidence of an ecosystem that has no signs of slowing down: “High-impact entrepreneurship is thriving in the MENA region, where founders are really starting to scale, and inspiring others to think big in terms of what they can build. We believe their success is indicative of more growth to come.”
Endeavor Catalyst is the innovative co-investment fund of Endeavor, set up to invest exclusively in Endeavor Entrepreneur-led companies and to sustain Endeavor’s long-term operations in a mission-aligned way. Since launching in January 2012, Endeavor Catalyst has raised over $110M in donated and invested capital, and invested in more than 100 Endeavor companies in over 20 markets. To date, Endeavor Catalyst has co-invested alongside a number of leading venture capital and growth equity funds, including Accel Partners, General Atlantic, NEA, Sequoia Capital and Tiger Global. Investments include Globant (NYSE: GLOB) in Argentina, Yemeksepeti.com (acquired by Delivery Hero) in Turkey, and dr. consulta in Brazil. Learn more here.
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