Careem brings Prince Alwaleed on board, closes $500m raise

UAE’s Abraaj Group divests stake to Kingdom Holding in close of second round

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has joined Daimler AG, the world’s biggest luxury-car maker, as an investor in a $500 million-fundraising by a Dubai-based ride-hailing company.

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has joined Daimler AG, the world’s biggest luxury-car maker, as an investor in a $500 million-fundraising by a Dubai-based ride-hailing company.

Saudi billionnaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has made an investment in ride-hailing app Careem as part of the technology firm’s $500 million second financing round.

Former investor The Abraaj Group said on Wednesday it had divested its own stake in Careem to Prince Alwaleed’s Kingdom Holding for an undisclosed sum.

Kingdom Holding is understood to have made a further investment alongside German luxury automotive firm Daimler AG and additional participants, DCM Ventures and Coatue Management, closing Careem’s $500 million second raise.

Careem said in December it had closed the first, $350 million tranche of the raise from investors including Japan’s Rakuten and Saudi Telecom. The latest round with Kingdom, Daimler, DCM and Coatue therefore totals $150 million.

A representative from Kingdom Holding has joined the Careem board of directors as part of the deal.

It is not known how much The Abraaj Group’s stake in Careem was worth – the Dubai-based private equity firm came on board in November 2015 as the lead investor in a $60 million parcel of financing. Neither Kingdom nor Daimler have disclosed the size of their investments.

The latest funding bring Careem’s estimated valuation to more than $1 billion, with reports from the US claiming the technology company is now worth as much as $1.5 billion.

The Dubai-headquartered transport app launched in 2012 and rivals Uber and other homegrown transport apps to provide on-demand services in the Middle East.

It operates in more than 50 cities across 13 countries, the most recent launch of which was Palestine earlier this week.

Careem founders Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson told Arabian Business last year that their aim was to take the company public by 2020.

Sheikha said: “KHC and Daimler AG bring vital knowledge and insight…deep-pockets and a long-term perspective on global technology adoption...to our organisation as we prepare the next big advances in our journey to shape future outcomes in urban transportation in our region.”

Commenting on The Abraaj Group’s exit, Ahmed Badreldin, Abraaj partner and head of Middle East and North Africa, said: “We recognised the opportunity for Careem to scale and rapidly grow its offering across the region.

“We are proud of the rapid advancements the company made based on our investment and partnership. We wish the company, its investors and new partners every success as they continue to take this dynamic business forward.”

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