November 22, 2018 / 7:03 AM / 18 days ago

Egyptian tech transport start up Swvl heads to Southeast Asia

DUBAI, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Egyptian transport tech start-up Swvl will expand into Southeast Asia next year after securing what the company said was the biggest round of funding for a tech start up in Egypt.

Cairo-headquartered Swvl, founded in April 2017, is a bus transportation service where passengers reserve and pay their fare through the company’s mobile app.

The app uses the passenger’s location and destination to find the shortest possible journey time based on the nearest bus station that travels along fixed routes.

Swvl raised “tens of millions of dollars” in Series B funding from new and existing investors, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Mostafa Kandil told Reuters by phone.

He declined to disclose the exact amount that had been secured, but said the Series B meant the company was now valued at close to $100 million.

Swvl is planning to launch services in Manila in the first quarter next year followed by other cities in the Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand, Kandil said.

The company is targeting to be in seven “mega cities” in emerging markets by the end of 2019, Kandil added.

“We are seeing oursleves as more of an emerging markets play and hence we want to expand beyond the Middle East,” he said.

Swvl, which is not yet profitable, has over a million users on its app traveling on over 200 routes in Cairo and Alexandria. The app handles hundreds of thousands of bookings each month and has over 1,000 buses registered.

Swvl is using part of the Series B funding to open a research and development facility in Berlin, the company said. (Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Himani Sarkar)

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