Dubai-Based Unicorn to go Public via SPAC Deal
Swvl Valued at $1.5 Billion
Swvl, a Dubai ridesharing company for emerging markets, is going public via a SPAC transaction with Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital (GMBT). The SPAC is led entirely by women, which is uncommon in the industry. Instead of focusing on individual ride-hailing services, Swvl, which was founded in 2017, offers mass transit in underserved markets.
Swvl uses algorithms and proprietary technology to determine the best routes for cutting down on emissions and costs. The deal values Swvl at around $1.5 billion, making it the largest unicorn out of the Middle East to trade on the Nasdaq. It is not yet clear when the transaction will be completed.
Swvl Aims to Disrupt Mass Transit
Swvl is trying to disrupt inefficient mass transit systems around the world. The company says that many public transportation systems cause congestion, reduce productivity, and hurt the environment. It wants to help solve these problems.
Swvl’s service is operational in 10 cities in the Middle East and Africa and it is eyeing more expansion into new markets. Since it debuted, 1.4 million riders have used the service to book around 46 million rides, and its sales hit about $26 million in 2020. That number is expected to increase to $79 million this year. The startup believes it has a $1 trillion opportunity in the global mass transit market, and wants to use its leadership position to capitalize on growth opportunities.
SPAC Deals Still Popular
As part of the deal, Queen’s Gambit CEO Victoria Grace and another executive from the SPAC will get seats on Swvl’s board. The female-led SPAC launched in January with $300 million to invest. In February it launched a second blank-check fund, Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital II (QWNBU).
Both funds are focused on deals with companies which are bringing sustainability to the energy, healthcare, mobility, and industrial sectors. SPAC deals gained momentum in 2020 and have remained popular in 2021. Last year, blank check companies raised $83.4 billion. This year they have already raised $115 billion. It will be interesting to see how SPAC deals unfold during the second half of the year.
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