Shuttle-hailing firm SWVL has announced plans to invest Ksh1.5 billion ($15 million) into Kenyan transport operations. The start-up will enable riders to hail shuttles operating on fixed routes and timings from their mobile phones.
SWVL Co-Founder and CEO, Mostafa Kandil, made the announcement in a press briefing in Nairobi’s Norfolk Hotel.
“Kenya is a market with a need for a stable solution for the perennial traffic snarl-ups and SWVL believes that we can be of great benefit to the local consumer and the transport sector as a whole,” said Mr. Kandil. “We are very excited to provide a solution that makes the lives of Kenyans easier whilst proving beneficial to the Kenyan transport sector,” he added.
In addition to the funding, the team will be adding more routes to its offering. SWVL initially had four routes when they launched in Kenya in February 2019 and has over the last six months since increased to fifty-five routes. They are now due to add more routes to cover more areas in Nairobi, as well as begin operations outside the capital city.
“I believe the potential for growth and value creation is tremendous and given the different entities providing varied solutions, we are looking to fill a gap that has yet to be sufficiently covered by what is already available,” said Shivachi Muleji, SWVL General Manager for Kenya, adding, “We see this as a win-win for us as SWVL and for Kenyans because this investment will not only allow us to grow the size of our fleet but also by extension create employment and support the government in providing high-quality public transportation.”
The shuttle-hailing firm has promised convenience, affordability,
and comfort as the value additions alongside security and insurance even for the drivers unlike in the traditional matatu industry.
SWVL recently closed its $42 million Series B-2 funding led by BECO Capital and Sweden’s Vostok New Ventures. This increased the start-up’s valuation to $150 million and comes almost seven months after it was valued at around $100 million after the last round of fundraising. This makes it among the best-funded start-ups in the region.