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AUCVlab Graduate SWVL Closes A Half A Million-Dollar Deal With Careem



   From left to right: Ahmed Sabbah, Mostafa Kandil and Mahmoud Nouh


By Maureen A. Guirguis

Regional Mobile-Based Chauffeur Car Service Careem Invests $500,000 in AUC Venture Lab's Fresh Graduate, SWVL

Last week, Careem, the leading ride-hailing service in the Middle East and North Africa, closed a half a million-dollar deal with the five-month-old bus-sharing startup SWVL. In addition to the investment, Careem’s Chief Experience Officer and Co-founder, Magnus Olsson, will be joining SWVL’s board of directors.

SWVL and Careem share a similar mission in that we both wish to solve the transportation challenges facing the MENA region,” said Olsson, adding,“our investment in the company is a clear bet on the value we believe SWVL will bring to the Egyptian people and further fulfills our promise to be a source of inspiration to local startups.”

SWVL is a private premium alternative bus system to public transportation. It enables riders heading in the same direction to share a ride during rush hour for a flat fare, and thus increasing the overall system efficiency and making the process convenient and affordable to all stakeholders.

Mostafa Kandil, SWVL’s founder explained that the idea came toi him initially when he used to work at Careem as a market launcher and decided to partner up with his two co-founders, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah to make that idea come to life.

“During our daily meetings at Careem, I realized that the average fair rate across the market in Egypt is estimated at three to four dollars per day, which I thought was very high” noted Kandil. “It was one of those rare light bulb moments,” he added.

Kandil then decided to quit his job at Careem and dedicated his time to SWVL. He launched it last March and was seeking investments to move on to the next phase.

According to Nooh, Careem contacted SWVL around a month ago regarding a potential partnership and negotiated an investment deal.

Two weeks later, after meeting with Ramy Kato, current Vice President of Careem Care, the deal was successfully closed. “The procedure had gone very smoothly and no objections arose by either our team nor Careem’s,” noted Nouh.

With this investment, SWVL plans to add new routes in Cairo and reach up to 300,000 customers by the end of December 2017. Currently, SWVL records an average of 40 routes per day with 50,000 users.

Investments will essentially be allocated to the development of their product by incorporating new features including different payment solutions. The team is also looking to expand their startup by adding new routes in several cities in Egypt and in the region.


Careem's investment in SWVL after only three months of operations, comes as a vote of confidence on what we are building. An exciting journey ahead!” said Kandil.


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AUC launched AUC Venture Lab (V-Lab) in 2013 which is the first university-based incubator in Egypt. It incubates early-stage and growth-stage startups that are chosen through a selection process that judges the novelty of the idea, the team’s track record and cohesion, scalability and potential for commercialization, as well as the team’s tenacity and commitment to success. Once selected, the startups benefit from training sessions, mentors, student internships and their presence at the AUC School of Business. They also play an active role in the AUC community and Egypt, sharing their entrepreneurial experience with students, faculty members, mentors and investors, as well as a global alumni network.