Mideast ride-hailing app Careem raises $200 million to expand, expects more funds

DUBAI (Reuters) – Middle East ride-hailing company Careem said on Thursday it had secured $200 million in fresh funding from existing investors and that it expects to raise more to finance expansion plans.

FILE PHOTO: An employee shows the logo of ride-hailing company Careem on his mobile in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah July 17, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman

A source close to the deal told Reuters the latest investment gave the ride hailing company an estimated valuation of over $2 billion. Careem was estimated to be worth around $1 billion as of December 2016.

Dubai-headquartered Careem, the main regional rival of Uber Technologies [UBER.UL], said it expected to raise a total of over $500 million in its latest funding effort to expand into mass transportation, deliveries, and payments.

Reuters reported in March that Careem was in early talks to raise as much as $500 million from investors.

“Internet-enabled services are having a profound and positive impact on our region, where the consumer internet opportunity is huge and untapped,” said Careem Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mudassir Sheikha in a statement.

Careem, founded in 2012, says it has 30 million registered users in over 120 cities in the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey, and Pakistan.

The $200 million came from existing investors which includes Saudi Arabian billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding, Al Tayyar Group, STV, and Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten.

Careem counts German car maker Daimler and China’s largest ride-hailing company DiDi Chuxing as some of its other backers.

Careem has expanded into new markets this year such as Sudan and started trialing food delivery services after buying a restaurant listing and reservation online platform.

Reuters reported in July Careem was planning to spend up to $150 million to launch its food delivery business following the acquisition of the RoundMenu restaurant platform.

Careem competes head-to-head in many major Middle East cities with San Francisco-headquartered Uber, which plans to go public next year and could be valued at $120 billion according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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