Dubai-Headquartered Ride-Sharing Startup Swvl Is In Advanced Talks To Go Public Via Merger With A Special Purpose Acquisition Company (SPAC).
Dubai-headquartered ride-sharing startup Swvl is in advanced talks to go public via a merger with a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), The Wall Street Journal reported today, citing unnamed sources. According to the report, Swvl plans to merge with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, a SPAC created earlier this year by a team of female executives. Its CEO Victoria Grace is the founder of New York-based VC fund Colle Capital.
Swvl will be the second Middle Eastern company to take the SPAC route to public markets. Abu Dhabi-headquartered music streaming platform Anghami had announced earlier this year that it plans to go public by merging with a SPAC, Vistas Media Acquisition Company. A SPAC is also known as a blank-cheque company and is formed to raise money through an IPO with the aim to buy an existing company and take it public. It will be the first Egypt-born technology company to go public on NASDAQ (or outside Egypt) and the second Egyptian technology firm overall to list (Fawry being the first one).
Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital raised $300 million in January when it was formed and another $45 million at a later point through underwriters’ overallotment option, noted the report. The deal with Swvl will also include a PIPE (private investment in a public entity) of $100 million which will be put in by a group of investors including Agility, Luxor Capital, and Zain Group. What this means is that Swvl will have $445 million in fresh capital to invest in its growth and expansion.
Founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh, and Ahmed Sabbah, Swvl started as a bus-hailing service in Egypt, enabling users to travel within a city by booking seats on buses that run on fixed routes. It later expanded the service in Kenya and Pakistan and moved its headquarters to Dubai. The company today also offers inter-city travel, car-based ride-sharing, corporate services, in different markets.
In its primary markets; Egypt, Kenya, and Pakistan, it serves both consumers and businesses through Daily, Travel, and Business offerings whereas, in some of the new markets like Jordan and Saudi, where Swvl has launched recently, it is only serving businesses. Its business offering enables schools, universities, and corporates to design customized transportation options for their students or employees using Swvl’s software and fleet.
The Cairo-born startup has raised over $100 million to date including a funding round earlier this year (that wasn’t announced publicly). Its previous investors include Vostok New Ventures Global, Beco Capital, Raed Ventures, Sawari Ventures, MSA Capital, and Silicon Badia. It’s last publicly announced funding round was $42 million Series B-2 in 2019 – after which it had quietly raised over $20 million in early 2020 as well.
Mostafa Kandil, the co-founder and CEO of Swvl had previously worked at Middle East’s leading ride-hailing company as a market launcher. Swvl’s co-founders Mahmoud Nouh (COO) and Ahmed Sabbah (CTO) left the company in October 2019 and March 2021 respectively to start their own ventures.
This news was originally published at Mena Bytes.