Careem is a middle eastern ride-hailing app. The startup has been so successful in the middle east that it has already achieved unicorn status. Its American counterpart and competitor are even in rumored talks to acquire the ride-sharing company, rather than merge with them for collaborated business in the middle east. They have recently ventured into Asia, through India and now, they have debuted in Africa.
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The company has been so successful in the recent past, that they have even signed an agreement with the United Nations, to hire 200 refugees to aid in the immigration living rights crisis. The refugees spilling over who are mostly from Syria and north and west African countries are set to benefit from this partnership. This will potentially benefit refugees by providing for them opportunities across 100 cities in over 14 countries.
In the recent United Nations assembly, the focus was on how public and private sectors can help stem the crisis by alleviating the lives of qualified refugees through economic empowerment. In light of the growth taking place in the global tech industry, careem recently acquired Commut. India’s bus sharing mass transportation mobile-based platform. The goal is to improve transportation quality and availability for the masses, creating affordable transport for all. Making it a catalyst for growth in the cities, moving forward.
Today commute has made over 750,000 trips and has more than 100 existing routes; making it the third largest transportation app in the Asian country. Commut has had great success in India, backed by the shell foundation and 50k ventures, with over 70,000 customers. It has now been taken over by shuttle, a shuttle service provider in India since the acquisition. Now Careem is taking the UK backed venture to Africa for the first time. Hitting the streets of Arab speaking Khartoum. This will make it Careem’s fourteenth company.
The firm has been testing in Sudan since July, operating in greater Khartoum, which comprises of Omdurman, Khartoum North, and Khartoum. Currently, there are more than two thousand drivers referred to as captains by the app, who are working in those areas. The difference with working in this area is that prices in Khartoum for taxi fares are often negotiated. They are not metered as most ride-sharing apps do. However, careem remains that their prices are transparent and measured for the benefit of both the customer and the driver.
The cars used also adhere to a standard. They are modern, clean, with air conditioning and water bottles for the convenience of customers. There is also an added level of security for the riders and captains in the country which has been riddled with civil war and tribal conflict in the past two decades. For the drivers, there is a rigorous background check and screening done to ensure that the drivers have no criminal record. Additionally, that they should not pose a threat to riders or the company at large in any way.
The screening is standard procedure for any criminal record and to ensure that the drivers hold a clean driving license. Now while the Uber, Little, Mondo, and Taxify have jam-packed the east African ride-sharing market, there has been none yet that has stepped up to the Sudan challenge. Many startups do fear to do business in volatile zones, but this has shown confidence in the African market as it recovers from long battles of the civil war and rebel rampage among other challenges.
It has also shown that business can be done in such regions to improve the living standards of the inhabitants, both locals and refugees to add value to their lives and the economy at large. As the venture is still at an early stage, there is more to be done, and definitely, room to grow within the African atmosphere. Only time will tell if it will be a successful venture.