Careem closes first part of $500m funding round

Careem said the cash would be used to help with its expansion plans

Ride-hailing app Careem has closed the first part of a $500m funding round backed by investors including Japan’s Rakuten Inc and Saudi Telecom Co (STC), the Dubai-based company said in a statement on Monday.

Uber’s chief competitor in the Middle East and North Africa region said the tranche was worth $350m and that it was advised by Credit Suisse on the financing.

The cash would be used to help with its expansion plans, the statement added.

STC said on Sunday it has agreed to buy a 10 percent stake in Careem for $100m.

Read: Saudi Telecom board approves $100m investment in Dubai’s Careem

The Saudi company already has a stake in Careem through STC Ventures, an independently managed venture capital fund of which the Saudi telco is an anchor investor.

Launched in Dubai in 2012 by Sheikha and fellow McKinsey & Co alumni Magnus Olsson, Careem has expanded across the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. It has a fleet of 90,000-plus drivers and more than four million users registered through its mobile app.

Also read: Dubai’s Careem launches operations in Turkey, set to expand in Saudi