SWVL gets Ksh1.5bn capital injection

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A SWVL shuttle in Nairobi
A SWVL shuttle in Nairobi: PHOTO/COURTESY: weetracker.com

Shuttle-hailing firm SWVL yesterday launched its services in Kenya with a Ksh1.5 billion investment as it plans to expand its operation in Nairobi.

SWVL has had its operations in Kenya for a little over six months as part of a piloting phase for the new service and the move to increase their investment and the routes they operate in is seen as the official launch of their services locally. The firm started off with four routes but it is expected that more routes will soon be introduced.

Nairobi marks the second city in Africa for the Egyptian-based firm, with the management saying it plans to make the city the hub for its sub-Saharan African operations and targets to grow its network to 500 routes served by 1,000 buses.

“The investment will go into building ecosystem, including supply and demand, bringing in drivers and creating awareness,” said SWVL co-founder and CEO, Mostafa Kandil, during the firm’s official launch as quoted by the Business Daily.

The firm engages drivers who already own and operate their buses to join its fleet in a lease agreement. Drivers and SWVL then sign an agreement on a minimum daily guarantee based on the average earnings expected per day from each bus.

According to the Business Daily, the app-based service allows users to book trips using their mobile phones, which notifies them of the nearest pick-up point, price and time by the bus. The drivers contact and registration number of the vehicle as well as live map update appear on the app interface for easy identification once the drivers arrive.

“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. That is what has prompted us to expand our route offering to match the convenience of ride-hailing services but at the same time matching the capacity provided by the traditional matatu industry for an even larger customer base than we have before”, said Shivachi Muleji, SWVL General Manager for Kenya as quoted by Capital FM Business.

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