Dubai-based transport startup Swvl to list on Nasdaq via $1.5bln SPAC deal

Swvl is expected to be the first $1bln-plus unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq

  
A man uses Swvl application on a mobile phone in Cairo, Egypt November 6, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A man uses Swvl application on a mobile phone in Cairo, Egypt November 6, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Swvl, a Dubai-headquartered transport technology startup and Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital have signed a merger deal that would result in Swvl being listed on Nasdaq.

Queen's Gambit Growth Capital is the first special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by women.

At a valuation of approximately $1.5 billion, Swvl is expected to be the first $1 billion-plus unicorn from the Middle East to list on Nasdaq. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the combined public company will be named Swvl Holdings Corp.

In 2017, Mostafa Kandil and two of his school friends, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, quit their jobs and gathered at public parks in Cairo, where they spent their time developing a service that they named Swvl. The transportation app initially developed for reducing the chaotic traffic jams in Cairo could book bus trips at rates that are close to 80 per cent cheaper than other ride-hailing services like Careem and Uber.

In 2019, venture-capital firms including Sweden’s Vostok, Dubai-based BECO Capital, China’s MSA, New York-based Endeavor Catalyst, Palo Alto-based Autotech, and Oman technology fund helped Swvl raise $42 million to fund its expansion.

Swvl currently operates in 10 cities in Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan.

"Dubai-headquartered Swvl is the first Middle East $1.5 billion Unicorn to list on Nasdaq US, founded by Mostafa Kandil, 28-year-old entrepreneur. Dubai's impact on the global start-up scene shows the vision and spirit of the region’s youth in shaping tomorrow's businesses," Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai tweeted.

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 Swvl's platform, according to a statement from the company.

"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," Mostafa Kandil, Swvl Founder and CEO said.

"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," he added.

Swvl is the second company in the Middle East to go public via a SPAC listing. Earlier this year, Abu Dhabi-based music streaming platform Anghami announced plans to go public by merging with Vistas Media Acquisition Company.

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)

(seban.scaira@refinitiv.com)

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© ZAWYA 2021


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