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Sat 6 Dec 2014 09:02 AM

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UAE tech start-up wins $10m investment for MidEast expansion

Chauffeur-driven car booking service Careem announces investment by Saudi's Al Tayyar Travel Group

UAE tech start-up wins $10m investment for MidEast expansion
Dr Nasser Altayyar, Al Tayyar Travel Groups vice chairman and managing director.

A UAE-based chauffeur-driven car booking service has announced it has attracted $10 million in new investment, led by Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Careem said that Al Tayyar along with existing investor STC Ventures and other regional investors are keen to further expand the technology-enabled firm across the Middle East and beyond.

Careem, the app and web-based service which serves 14 cities across the Middle East, plans to use the cash infusion to expand its business into new markets, and improve its technology and operations platform.

Careem was founded in Dubai in 2012 and now operates in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Dammam, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Khobar, Kuwait, Lahore and Riyadh.

This is the second round of investment for the technology start-up. In September 2013, STC Ventures (Saudi Telecom's VC arm) led a $1.7 million round to fund technology development and Careem's expansion into Saudi Arabia.

Careem was started by Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha, both former consultants at McKinsey & Company. It serves a large number of corporate clients and individual customers.

The company said it is still growing at more than 30 percent month-on-month and has reached a headcount of 70.

Sheikha, co-founder and managing director, said: "We are delighted to have a strategic partner like Al Tayyar on board. Their strong Saudi presence and regional experience will help us deliver a reliable and consistently high quality service to our Saudi customers and accelerate our geographic expansion to the rest of the Middle East."

In the past year, Careem has established presence in the major cities in Saudi Arabia, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Khobar.

Dr Nasser Altayyar, Al Tayyar Travel Group's vice chairman and managing director, added: "In Careem, we found not only a great product that we believe can grow exponentially, but also a team of passionate people who are determined to provide a much-needed solution to ground transportation and logistics in the region... We are excited to be part of this Middle Eastern brand's success story."

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