Update 1/8/2022: On July 29th, 2022, Swvl announced that it would be backing out of the Zeelo acquisition, citing financial market volatility given the current global economic situation.
Swvl, the recently-minted mass transit solutions public company, has made great strides in the years since its launch in 2017. Founded in Egypt by three friends, with $30,000 in personal savings, and the goal of improving public transport in their home country, the company has gone on to reach a $1.5 billion valuation, public status, and a $160 million figure in projected revenue by 2022’s close.
Now based in Dubai, the company is making bold moves across the international spectrum, acquiring smaller rivals and peers left and right in an effort to expand its footprint. This year alone, the company has announced 4 acquisitions so far, with 6 acquisitions total to date. In 2021, it announced acquisitions of Spain’s on-demand bus service and Argentine’s mass transit company ViaPool, the latter of which would secure swvl’s entry into LATAM.
In March, swvl announced it would be acquiring door2door, a German mobility platform that partners with municipalities, public transit operators, corporations, and automotive companies, providing software for on-demand mobility, multimodal routing and mobility analytics. With this move, swvl effectively secured its expansion into Central Europe.
In April, it announced not one, but two planned acquisitions. Volt Lines, a Turkish transportation-as-a-service operator, was the first purchase. The company said that this would help it build out its corporate offerings while also getting a foothold in Turkey so it can expand its B2C service there.
Next came Zeelo, the UK's largest smart bus platform and technology scale-up (measured by bookings), the purchase of which would provide swvl with a launchpad to rapidly land and expand business operations in three strategic developed markets including the UK, South Africa and the US.
Finally, this month, the mobility unicorn announced it would acquire Urbvan, a Mexico-based shared mobility platform that provides tech-enabled transportation services to Latin America's second-largest country by population.
Commenting on their latest purchase deal, Swvl’s CFO Youssef Salem noted, "The acquisition of Urbvan contributes towards all the key objectives of our recently announced portfolio optimisation plan: opportunity to enhance margins, turn cash flow positive in 2023, focus on high profitability segments TaaS and SaaS, expand in higher ticket fare markets and extract more value from our proprietary technology stack.”
Swvl’s shopping spree isn’t ending anytime soon, it would seem, as the company pursues what many other scaling tech companies once did in their rise: the ever-elusive concept of profitability.