Entrepreneurs: Uber’s Mideast Rival Plans 2019 IPO

Careem Networks FZ, which competes with Uber Technologies Inc. in the Middle East, may sell shares to the public in the next three years after a fundraising round valued the company at about $1 billion, reports Bloomberg.

“We are on a path to profitability and over time a potential listing,” Chief Executive Officer Mudassir Sheikha said in a TV interview with Bloomberg Markets Middle East on Tuesday. “It would probably be in 2018-2019 when it starts to become more feasible. I don’t think we would need more money before a listing.”

The Dubai-based ride-hailing company said Monday it raised $350 million from investors, including Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc and Saudi Telecom Co., as part of a $500 million fundraising round. Investment is flowing into Middle Eastern technology start ups with companies seeking to profit from the region’s wealthy consumer base and high smartphone penetration rates.

Careem plans to expand into three to four countries next year, including Algeria and Tunisia, Sheikha said. Founded by Sheikha, Magnus Olsson, and Abdullah Elyas in 2012, the company currently operates in 47 cities across 11 countries and has over 6 million users and 150,000 drivers in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia region.