As Uber’s fiercest rival in the middle east, Careem steps up to the challenge

Company Overview

Careem is a Dubai-based ride-hailing app that enables users to find and book car rental services. Founded in 2012, Careem has expanded to over 50 cities across 11 countries in the Middle East, North Africa, Pakistan and Turkey, reaching over 6 million registered users.

Estimated Revenue

Currently, Careem has an estimated revenue of $32.9 million. Since inception, it has participated in 4 rounds of funding, with the latest taking place in last December for a total of $350 million.


Careem was co-founded by McKinsey & Company veterans Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson in 2012.

Why Bother?

In order to secure its position in an increasing competitive market, Careem is investing heavily in R&D, while expanding rapidly across the MENA region. The company is expanding at a tremendous pace with continuous double digit growth month-on-month; and its ambitions are backed by deep-pocketed investors such as Japanese e-commerce Rakuten Inc., Telecom giant STC, and Abraaj Group. Government players are also on board.

Currently operating in 15 locations across MENA, Uber plans to significantly expand across the region in the coming years.

But as Uber’s fiercest rival in the region, Careem steps up to the challenge by bolstering up its customer base.

Its strategy? Mass transport and acquisitions.

Last year, Careem partnered up with the city of Dubai as part of the its Smart Government Initiative. Together with Next Future Transportation, a San Jose-based company that designs, manufactures, and sells advanced electric cars and robotic systems, Careem plans to bring battery-powered, self-driving electric pods to the city of Dubai soon.

The self-driving pods will operate as a mass-transportation system, linking and detaching accordingly as they pick up and drop off passengers on-demand. The initiative is expected to improve mass transportation, making it safer and more efficient, while reducing road congestion and environmental externalities.

Recently, Careem also collaborated with RTA Dubai, the city’s transportation authority, to bring Dubai users the option of ordering taxis without providing credit card details.

Acquisitions also help is gaining market traction. The Dubai-based firm has aggressively joined forces with competitors to capture local market share.

Over the last two years, Careem has acquired the Saudi Arabia-based home delivery service Enwani, the Moroccan Startup Taxii, and the Pakistani ride-hailing app Savaree. Leveraging their robust legacy user groups, Careem quickly establishes its dominance in local regions.

As Uber continues its efforts to expand across the Middle East, Careem continues to tailgate the ride-hailing superstar. With over 6 million users, the company seems to outpace Uber in gaining traction in the region.