A European bank has announced an investment in a car-sharing company with the aim of making transport in Egypt safer for women.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has signed an agreement to invest $10 million in ridesharing company Swvl. The London-based bank said the investment was aimed at ‘improving the safety of women on buses in Egypt’ in a press release issued yesterday.
Swvl allows users to book rides on company-operated minibuses. Users greet the rides via a mobile phone app. Swvl was founded in Cairo in 2017, but is currently based in Dubai. It operates in Egypt, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan and Kenya.
Women’s safety is a priority for the company, as sexual harassment is an especially dangerous threat to women in Egypt. Swvl aims to provide affordable routes that people can take instead of public buses. Swvl also offers private bus reservations in Egypt. Last year, the company started offering women-only rides in Pakistan.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it expects Swvl to become the first private startup in the Middle East to list on the Nasdaq stock exchange in New York. Middle East infrastructure director Sue Barrett told the stock exchange earlier this month that the bank was “delighted to support SWVL at this key moment in its remarkable journey from startup to NASDAQ-listed company. “.
This is not the first time that Swvl has attracted foreign capital. Last July, Swvl and Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital announced a merger with the goal of making Swvl a publicly traded stock. The women-led company valued Swvl at $1.5 billion at the time. Queen’s Gambit is a special purpose acquisition company that aims to take other companies public. He is based in New York.