Egypt’s bus-sharing startup Swvl expands to Kenya after US$38m funding

KENYA – The Egyptian bus-sharing startup, Swvl is launching its services in Nairobi, Kenya after raising US$30 million in 2018 and reaching a valuation of approximately US$100 million in 2018, according to Digest Africa.

At the end of the 2018 funding rounds, the startup unveiled plans to expand their services to Manila, Dakar, and Jakarta later in the year.

According to co-founder and CEO, Mustafa Kandil, they were looking to expand to “10 cities outside Egypt in 2019.

Swvl offers an app-based mass transit system which enables riders heading in the same direction share fixed-route bus trips for a flat fare with no surge pricing.

The company is eying the transport business in Kenya where more than a third use public transport as the primary means.

Swvl’s info and ads section on Facebook indicate that the company has already started operations in some of the Nairobi-focused routes.

In the ads, Swvl – which runs a mass-transit bus-sharing service – points out that they already have more than 80 [bus] stations and five main lines [that] are just one tap away.

Founded in 2018 by Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, Swvl is presently available in 200 routes between Cairo and Alexandria. 

To date, the app which is available for both Android and iOS users has registered over a million customers who frequently use their services, according to the company.

The firm is not the only one eying the transit segment in Kenya.

Last year, Uber announced that they will be launching their ride-sharing services in Nairobi after running tests in Cairo and Monterrey, a Mexican city.

The company already operates Uber Pool and Uber Express Pool in cities such as London and New York, so taxi drivers can carry more passengers heading to the same or nearby destinations.

Uber launched in Kenya about four years ago and now has 6,000 active drivers and is seeking an edge over rival operators in the East African nation, such as Estonian ride-hailer Taxify and Little, set up by Nairobi-based Craft Silicon.

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