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Mideast ride-hailing firm Careem acquires RoundMenu to trial food delivery

Ride-sharing app Careem said in June it would accelerate expansion plans after raising $500 million from investors. (Reuters)
LONDON: Careem, a major Middle East competitor to Uber, has acquired RoundMenu and plans to trial food-delivery services using the restaurant listing and reservation platform.

It is unclear as yet how much the Dubai-based ride-hailing firm paid for the RoundMenu website and app.

RoundMenu has raised $3.1 million in funding since it launched in 2012, Careem said in a statement. RoundMenu was first funded and launched by HoneyBee Tech Ventures, followed later by other institutional investment from BECO Capital, Horeca Trade and Middle East Venture Partners.

“It is a good outcome for all parties after five years of seeding this venture. It’s particularly good for the ecosystem to see acquisitions emerging by local tech players,” Ihsan Jawad, partner at HoneyBee Tech Ventures, told Arab News.

Careem itself has raised more than $570 million over six rounds of funding since it launched — also in 2012. According to some estimates Careem is now valued at more than $1.2 billion.

RoundMenu is available in 18 cities across nine Arab countries, including Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Egypt, according to its website, partly matching Careem’s MENA-wide offering of 90 cities across 13 countries in the broader region.

“Careem will begin testing a delivery capability for RoundMenu customers on a small scale later this month,” the company told media in a statement.

Competition for such a service is high in the region, with Talabat, Zomato, UberEats and Deliveroo all offering similar home delivery options.

Other acquisitions by Careem include Morocco-based taxi company, Taxii, in May 2015 and Saudi address-coding service Enwani in June 2015.

In July 2017, it took a minority stake in an Egyptian start-up that connects commuters with private buses in Cairo.

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