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Careem Networks FZ-LLC
FoundedMarch 2012; 10 years ago (2012-03)
  • Mudassir Sheikha
  • Magnus Olsson
  • Abdulla Elyas
Area served
100+ cities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia
Key people
  • Mudassir Sheikha
  • Magnus Olsson
  • Abdulla Elyas
ProductsMobile app

Careem is a Dubai-based super app with operations in over 100 cities, covering 12 countries across the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia regions.[1] The company, which was valued at over US$2 billion in 2018,[2] became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber after being acquired for $3.1 billion in January 2020.[3] Careem expanded into the food delivery business with Careem Now in November 2018[4] and launched a digital payment platform, Careem Pay in April 2022.[5]


Careem was founded by Mudassir Sheikha, an American of Pakistani[6] origin and Magnus Olsson of Sweden, who had both worked as management consultants at McKinsey & Company.[7] It started operating in July 2012 as a website-based service for corporate car bookings, and evolved to become a ridesharing company with car hire for everyday use.[8]

Careem's first logo, used from 2012 to 2016

In 2015, the company acquired a Saudi-based home service company and Abdulla Elyas joined Careem.[9] In 2017, the company announced a program to extend maternity leave and hire more women.[10]

In June 2017, Careem launched operations in Palestine as part of a commitment to create one million jobs in the MENA region by the end of 2018.[11] In January 2018, they became the first ride-hailing service to launch in Baghdad. The company also has locations in Najaf and Erbil, Kurdistan Region.[12][13]

It was announced in February 2018, that Careem has acquired RoundMenu, a restaurant listing and food ordering platform that operates across the Arab world.[14] In August 2018, Careem said they would be launching bus services, starting with cities in Egypt in December of the same year.[15] The service was discontinued in early 2020.[16]

In May 2019, Careem announced the acquisition of UAE-based bike-sharing startup Cyacle which will re-brand as Careem Bike.[17]

On 27 February 2020, Careem announced that it will soon be launching Careem Pay, a digital wallet to replace cash payments.[18]


Careem received seed money of US$1.7 million in a round led by STC Ventures in 2013. In 2014, it received funding of US$10 million in a Series B round led by Al Tayyar Travel Group and STC Ventures.

In November 2015, Careem announced a Series C round investment of US$60 million led by The Abraaj Group.[19][20][21] In October 2016, the company reached an agreement with regulators in Dubai whereby customers are able to book all taxicabs and limousines operating in Dubai via the Careem mobile app.[22] In December 2016, the company raised US$350 million in a Series D round, based on a US$1 billion valuation for the company.[23] Saudi Telecom in this funding round invested in a 10% stake in Careem.[24] In October 2018, the company secured US$200 million funding from its existing investors.[25][26]

On 26 March 2019, Uber agreed to acquire the company for US$3.1 billion, including US$1.4 billion in cash and US$1.7 billion in convertible notes,[27] making Careem the first unicorn startup company in the Middle East outside of Israel.[28]

Careem Now[edit]

In 2018, Careem announced it was launching a food delivery service app called Careem Now, delivering food and pharmaceuticals, initially in Dubai and Jeddah.[29] In 2019, the service expanded into Riyadh and Amman, and announced it was also launching in Pakistan.[30] On 21 April 2020, the service expanded its Dubai service into delivering groceries and other essential products.[31]

On 4 May 2020, Uber Eats announced they were exiting the United Arab Emirates and that their services would be offered through Careem Now.[32]


In Pakistan, Careem employs women drivers. Women are also employed as drivers in Egypt and Jordan.[2] In Saudi Arabia, women make up 80% of the company's customers.[24] Careem is planning to have a female workforce of 20,000 by the year 2020.[33] In Saudi Arabia, Careem and Uber have started recruiting women, as part of the Saudi Women to drive movement. Women were legally allowed to start driving on 24 June 2018, and Uber and Careem women drivers were able to start working on the same day.[34]


Due to the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Careem announced on its blog[35] it was laying off 31% of its workforce, amounting to 536 employees. [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] [41]



Taxi protests in Egypt[edit]

Uber and Careem faced heavy criticism in Egypt at the beginning of 2016 by local taxi drivers for operating without official taxi licenses. Taxi drivers organized several protests and sit-ins demanding that the Egyptian government intervene to halt the activities of the TNCs. A committee was organized by the Egyptian government to assess the complaints of the protesting taxi drivers and standardize taxi services in Egypt. They ruled in favor of the TNCs, ensuring that they can operate legally and provided legal protection for the TNC drivers who had been facing attacks by both state police and angry taxi drivers.[42][43][44][45]

Data breach[edit]

In January, 2018, Careem discovered data on more than 14 million riders and 558,800 drivers were breached. The company waited until late April, 2018, to disclose this breach because they "wanted to make sure we had the most accurate information before notifying people".[46][47][48] According to investigations conducted by the company, there was no initial evidence of fraud or misuse.[49]

Charity work[edit]

Careem has been a supporter of Cricket for a Cause for the past two years and has supported the league's efforts to raise funds for children in developing nations. Moreover, in Pakistan, Careem and Robin Hood Army took the initiative to feed more than 10,000 people across the nation.[50]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Careem eyes potential expansion to 250 cities in MENA". Retrieved 2018-07-29.
  2. ^ a b "Mideast ride-hailing app Careem raises $200 million to expand, expects more funds". 2018-02-02. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  3. ^ Somerville, Heather; Cornwell, Alexander; Azhar, Saeed (March 26, 2019). "Uber buys rival Careem in $3.1 billion deal to dominate ride-hailing in Middle East". Reuters. San Francisco/Dubai.
  4. ^ "Careem NOW: Engineering a robust and scalable food delivery application". Monstarlab.
  5. ^ Tala Michel Issa (21 April 2022). "Careem Pay launches digital wallet for money transfers, withdrawals in UAE". Al Arabiya English.
  6. ^ "Tech in Asia - Connecting Asia's startup ecosystem". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  7. ^ "Meet Careem: The Uber of The Middle East". Retrieved 2016-10-07.
  8. ^ BASHIR, OMER (February 15, 2016). "Uber-clone vows safe, affordable ride. Should you Careem around Karachi, Lahore?". Dawn.
  9. ^ Prince, Stephanie Nour (January 5, 2015). "Careem acquires Saudi-based home delivery service Enwani". Wamda.
  10. ^ "Dubai's Careem to extend maternity leave, hire more women". Arabian Business. March 8, 2017.
  11. ^ "Dubai's Careem says to launch operations in Palestine". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  12. ^ "Where does Careem operate? - Careem Cities". Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  13. ^ "Careem launches ride-hailing services in Baghdad". The National. Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  14. ^ "Careem acquires online restaurant listing platform RoundMenu, to trial food delivery". The National. Retrieved 2018-09-20.
  15. ^ "Dubai's Careem to test bus service in Egypt". Retrieved 2018-08-14.
  16. ^ Zubair Naeem Paracha (May 4, 2020). "Careem is killing its mass transportation service 'Careem Bus'". MENAbytes.
  17. ^ "Careem Bike marks Careem's entrance into micro-mobility". Retrieved 2019-06-01.
  18. ^ "Careem eyes financial services in cash-based Middle East, says CEO". Retrieved 2020-03-02.
  19. ^ "Careem raises US$ 60 million in new funding with The Abraaj Group as lead investor". (Press release). November 10, 2015. Archived from the original on March 20, 2017. Retrieved March 19, 2017.
  20. ^ Aby Sam Thomas (January 13, 2016). "Careem: It's Full Speed Ahead For This Middle East Startup". Entrepreneur.
  21. ^ Williamson, Rachel (November 10, 2015). "Car-hailing app Careem raises $60M Series C". Wamda.
  22. ^ Arnold, Tom; Carvalho, Stanley (October 4, 2016). "Uber faces pressure in Dubai as regulator signs deal with rival". Reuters.
  23. ^ Farber, Madeline (December 19, 2016). "Uber's Middle East Rival Just Got a $1 Billion Valuation". Forbes Magazine.
  24. ^ a b "Saudi women are a captive market for Uber and Careem". The Economist. Retrieved 2017-05-19.
  25. ^ "Careem raises $200m in new funding". October 18, 2018.
  26. ^ "Ride-hailing app Careem raises $200mln to expand". October 19, 2018.
  27. ^ "Uber confirms it's acquiring Middle East rival Careem for $3.1 billion". VentureBeat. 2019-03-26. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  28. ^ Ng, Abigail. "Careem CEO says the Middle East is 'not very far' from seeing more billion-dollar start-ups". Retrieved 2021-08-24.
  29. ^ Paracha, Zubair (December 17, 2018). "Careem launches its delivery app Careem NOW, to invest $150 million in the new vertical, available initially in Dubai and Jeddah for food deliveries". MENAbytes.
  30. ^ "Careem quietly expands its food delivery service 'Careem Now' to Jordan with Amman launch, Pakistan next". MENAbytes. July 14, 2019.
  31. ^ Godinho, Varun (April 22, 2020). "Careem launches grocery and medicine delivery service in Dubai". Gulf Business.
  32. ^ "Uber Eats decides to switch off in UAE". Gulf News. Retrieved 2020-05-15.
  33. ^ "Careem to have 20,000 female drivers in the Middle East by 2020". Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  34. ^ "CNN".
  35. ^ "Securing Careem through these uncertain times". Careem Blog. 4 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Careem to lay off 31% of staff as business drops 80% amid Covid-19".
  37. ^ "Careem lays off 31 percent of its workforce as business takes a big hit due to Covid-19". MENAbytes. 4 May 2020.
  38. ^ "Dubai's Careem cuts 536 jobs as lockdowns hit ride-hailing across Middle East". The National.
  39. ^ "Careem to lay off 31% of workforce as business drops". Gulf Insider. 4 May 2020.
  40. ^ "UberEats exits Middle East as subsidiary Careem announces layoffs, closes bus service". Enterprise.
  41. ^ "Uber's Middle East business Careem cuts 31% of workforce".
  42. ^ Pupic, Tamara (15 November 2015). "Entrepreneurs of the Week: Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha". Arabian Business.
  43. ^ "Egyptian Government: Uber and Careem Will Stay in Egypt". March 10, 2016.
  44. ^ Charbel, Jano (February 4, 2016). "Taxi drivers protest against Uber, other app-based car services".
  45. ^ Menna Alaa El-Din (March 8, 2016). "Egyptian taxi drivers start open-ended sit-in to demand Uber, Careem shutdown". Ahram online.
  46. ^ Alrawi, Mustafa. "Ride sharing platform Careem says hit by cyber attack with data of up to 14 million users stolen". The National. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  47. ^ Al Ali, Nour. "Middle East Ride-Hailing App Careem Reveals Major Cyber Attack". Bloomberg Technology. Bloomberg. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  48. ^ "Important security information". Careem. Retrieved 23 April 2018.
  49. ^ "Ride-hailing app Careem reveals data breach affecting 14 million people – TechCrunch". Retrieved 2018-04-23.
  50. ^ Release, Press. "Careem and Robin Hood Army Pledge to Feed 10,000 People". Retrieved 2019-02-01.

External links[edit]