United Arab Emirates yesterday became the first country to grant approval to Uber-Careem deal. The $3.1 billion deal that consists of $1.7 billion convertible notes and $1.4 billion cash is the largest exit for a startup in the Middle East & North Africa. As many have argued, Careem’s exit will have a huge impact on MENA’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Mudassir Sheikha, the co-founder and CEO of Careem, sees the deal as a lift-off moment for the Middle Eastern ecosystem.
“A transaction of this magnitude puts the region’s emerging technology ecosystem squarely on the map of regional and foreign investors. It will radically and irreversibly enhance the support and funding opportunities for local entrepreneurs. Every ecosystem needs a landmark transaction, and we hope this will be ours,” he had said in a letter to Careem employees after the deal was announced.
The exit as we have previously reported in a series of different pieces created many winners including Careem’s founders, investors, employees, and even some early interns. The early investors in the company including STC Ventures generated 100x returns on their original investment. But just like any other startup, it wasn’t easy for Careem in its early days. There were many VCs and individuals who passed on Careem when it was raising its first round – BECO Capital being one of them (they later invested in company’s Series B).
The company that had started as a corporate chauffeur service in 2012 by two former McKinsey consultants Mudassir Sheikha and Magnus Olsson, had launched its first mobile app in February 2013. Around the same time, Careem initiated their fundraising efforts to raise $600,000 as their first external investment round.
We’ve been able to obtain the pitch deck (thanks to Careem’s communications team) Careem had used at the time to raise this investment. In spite of some investors declining to invest in the company, Careem went on to raise almost 3 times ($1.7 million) of what it had originally planned and announced the round in September 2013. STC Ventures, Oqal Investment Network, and some angels were the investors who took part in this round.
Careem’s co-founders on multiple occasions have said that their vision about what they were building continued to evolve as they scaled the company and its evident from the pitch deck which also happens to have a very honest warning on a dedicated slide stating that its a high-risk investment.
Here is the full deck with all 21 slides.