Dubai-based taxi app Careem has launched operations in the Turkish capital of Istanbul as part of plans to expand into 15 new cities this month.
Initially, Careem will operate as an airport service in Turkey, available to customers going to and from the airport, in Mercedes VITO and Volkswagen car models, it said in a statement.
Within the GCC, Careem is extending its presence to six more cities in Saudi Arabia – its largest market, it said. It currently offers services in 23 cities across the kingdom.
The app will also grow its services to three new cities in Egypt, while it is also expanding in Pakistan, where it acquired local start-up Savaree earlier in 2016.
Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and managing director at Careem said: “As a homegrown company, we have in-depth knowledge of the region and we tailor our services to ensure we offer convenient transportation options. Launching Careem in Turkey is a key milestone and we look forward to further expansion across this dynamic market.”
Launched in Dubai in 2012, Careem has a fleet of 90,000-plus drivers, more than four million registered users and is available in 47 cities.
The company is backed by regional investors including Saudi Telecom Ventures, Al Tayyar Travel, The Abraaj Group, Beco Capital, Impulse, Lumia Capital and Wamda Capital.
Recent funding rounds include $60m raised last November from a group led by Abraaj.
Earlier this year, Careem also signed an agreement with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority as part which its customers will be able to book all of the 9,841 taxis and 4,700 limousines operating in the emirate through its app.
Careem and rival Uber suspended services in Abu Dhabi in August, after licensed limousine drivers using the app were reportedly detained by police.
Careem has relaunched a limited service in the capital, while Uber remains unavailable.