Digital platforms are making for better mobility solutions in big cities. The likes of Swvl and Shotl are accelerating that change. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The Dubai-based ‘unicorn’ Swvl Inc. is heading into European markets by taking a controlling stake in Shotl, a mass transit platform that provides on-demand bus and van services. The latter has operations in Latin America and Asia-Pacific apart from Europe.

It was last month that Swvl itself shot into full prominence through a Nasdaq New York listing. Founded in Egypt, the company is now based in Dubai and represents a new wave of tech startups that are making a mark globally.

“Shotl’s vision for the future of mobility, with an emphasis on electrification, the reduction of congestion and emissions, and affordability – is exactly what Swvl has already achieved in ten emerging market megacities and the reinvented model for public transit systems across the world,” said Mostafa Kandil, Swvl founder and CEO. “Our companies share the view that there is an urgent need to transform traditional public transportation to make it more accessible, convenient and sustainable,”

The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter.

What does Swvl do?
Customers can book their rides on an app to access private buses and vans that operate according to fixed routes, stations, times, and prices.

"Our vision is to back local and regional champions in the space to achieve our mission of delivering safe, reliable and affordable mass transit to the entire globe," said Youssef Salem, Swvl CFO.

European base

Based in Barcelona and present across 20 cities in eight countries in Europe, Shotl will serve as Swvl’s European hub and platform for further significant expansion. "Swvl is ideally situated for expansion into European markets and will immediately capitalize on our local partnerships and brand value," said Gerard Martret, CEO and co-founder of Shotl. "We are confident that Shotl’s market-leading technology and expertise will greatly contribute to the Swvl platform, advancing our mission to provide superior transportation alternatives for all.”