UAE-based start-up Careem, which operates an online chauffeur-driven car booking service, announced that it has raised about $10 million investment in a round led by Saudi’s Al Tayyar Travel Group, STC Ventures and other regional investors.
The company said that it will use the cash infusion to expand its business to new markets and to develop its technology and operations platform.
This is the second round of investment for the tech start-up. In September 2013, Careem received $1.7 million funding from STC Ventures, the venture capital arm of Saudi Telecoms Company, to help its expansion into Saudi Arabia.
“We are delighted to have a strategic partner like Al Tayyar on board,” said Mudassir Sheikha co-founder and managing director of Careem.
“Their strong Saudi presence and regional experience will help us deliver a reliable and consistently high quality service to our Saudi customers and accelerate our geographic expansion to the rest of the Middle East.”
In the last one year, Careem has expanded across the Kingdom with presence in major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Khobar.
“The investment in Careem is aligned with our strategy to embrace new technologies in how we serve our customers,” said Nasser Altayyar, vice chairman and managing director of Al Tayyar Travel Group.
Careem, which was started by Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, both former consultants at McKinsey & Company, allows customers to book a car for a precise time in the future or order it on-demand through the company’s website or its mobile apps.
Founded in 2012, the start-up is growing at more than 30 per cent month-on-month and employs 70 people.
Careem currently operates in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Dammam, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Khobar, Kuwait, Lahore and Riyadh.
Tech start-ups in Dubai are increasingly finding favour among investors owing to a boom in tech-savvy population in the region.
Last year, daily deals website Cobone.com was acquired by US-based investment firm Tiger Global Management for an undisclosed sum while Dubai-based personal finance application Wally said that it raised Dhs1.5 million in its first round of funding.