Dubai's SWVL buys on-demand bus service Shotl

Shotl is expected to serve as SWVL's European hub and platform for further significant expansion

  
A logo of the Egyptian transport technology start-up Swvl, is seen on a mobile app in this picture illustration, in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 11, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

A logo of the Egyptian transport technology start-up Swvl, is seen on a mobile app in this picture illustration, in Islamabad, Pakistan, November 11, 2019. Image used for illustrative purpose.

REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro

Dubai-based transport startup, SWVL is acquiring a controlling stake in Shotl, a mass transit platform that partners with municipalities and corporations to provide on-demand bus and van services across Europe, LATAM and APAC.

Shotl  has a presence across 22 cities in 10 countries including Brazil and Japan and has over 350,000 bookings to date. The platform has more than 10 percent market share in Europe is focused in solving challenges posed by transportation voids in suburbs, cities and campuses with an on-demand platform that is simple to use, flexible, and sustainable, SWVL said in a statement. 

SWVL did not reveal the size of the transaction but said the deal is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2021, subject to customary closing conditions.

Shotl is expected to serve as SWVL’s European hub and platform for further significant expansion.

Mostafa Kandil, SWVL Founder and CEO, said: “With Shotl’s strategic relationships, rapidly growing user base and deep knowledge of its market landscapes, Swvl is meaningfully expanding its core markets, in line with our publicly stated growth objectives.”

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.

In July, SWVL and Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital 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.

(Writing by Seban Scaria; editing by Daniel Luiz)

 seban.scaria@refinitiv.com

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© ZAWYA 2021


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