Swvl, MENA's latest unicorn, acquires Shotl to enter Spanish transportation market

Swvl, MENA's latest unicorn, acquires Shotl to enter Spanish transportation market 

By: Mark Anthony Karam
News

According to Reuters, who quoted a source familiar with the matter, Swvl has agreed to buy Spain-based Shotl, an Uber-like service for bus and van operators that caters to municipalities, corporations and educational institutions.

After becoming the latest unicorn to emerge from the MENA region late last month, UAE-based mass transit and shared mobility solutions startup Swvl now has its eyes set on expansion. 

According to Reuters, who quoted a source familiar with the matter, Swvl has agreed to buy Spain-based Shotl, an Uber-like service for bus and van operators that caters to municipalities, corporations and educational institutions.

The source did not disclose the financial terms of the deal.

Prior to this acquisition, Swvl operated across 10 cities in Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. This acquisition will now see Swvl establish its first foothold in Europe, with Spain as its hub. The source mentioned that this will more than double the company’s geographic footprint.

As for Shotl, it operates in 22 cities across 10 countries, including Brazil and Japan.

"The deal also provides Swvl with an entry point into autonomous driving projects, primarily through Shotl’s participation in a project led by the European Commission to demonstrate the impact of self-driving minibuses on the future public transport networks," Reuters noted. 

Overall, this acquisition fits within Swvl's disclosed plans following its going public announcement. At the time, Swvl said that the proceeds from its SPAC merger will fund and accelerate Swvl’s long-term growth strategy with a goal of driving $1bn+ of annual gross revenues and expansion to 20 countries by 2025. Swvl expects to turn its first profit in 2024, its chief financial officer, Youssef Salem, told Reuters earlier this month.

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