Careem closes $500m in funding round
First close of $350m will create a million jobs, expand services geographically, and fund research and development
The region's ride-hailing service in the Middle East and North Africa, Careem, has finalised its first close in its $500m funding round.
The investment of $350m was co-led by Rakuten, an Internet services provider headquartered in Japan and Saudi Telecom Company.
The funds will scale up Careem's transport services in existing and new markets, accelerate innovation across its platform of high-frequency transactions, and help Careem achieve its goal of creating one million jobs in the region by 2018.
Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder and CEO of Careem, said: "We are inspired and humbled to work with world class strategic partners like Rakuten and STC. They not only bring significant institutional backing for Careem's new horizons, but also global technology leadership and deep local experience bringing us closer to achieving our mission of improving the lives of everyone in the region."
"The MENA region has a growing, connected, urban population with great potential for ride hailing and other e-commerce services," added Oskar Mielczarek de la Miel, executive officer at Rakuten. "This investment directly aligns with Rakuten's vision for global innovation as Careem has demonstrated its ability to scale to one of the largest shared economy platforms in the region, and to accelerate the adoption of new transit solutions."