Swvl, a mass transit company, has confirmed to TechCrunch that it has agreed to purchase Zeelo, a U.K. startup, for $100 million, according to sources. With the purchase of Volt Lines, the Egyptian-born firm that provides shared transportation services for intercity and intracity excursions recently expanded into Turkey. It went public (NASDAQ: SWVL) via a SPAC earlier this year. Swvl’s acquisition of Zeelo, which claims to be the UK’s largest “smart bus” platform focused towards manual workers and students, follows the company’s recent acquisitions of Viapool and Shotl, as well as the previously announced acquisitions of Volt Lines and door2door.
Swvl will be able to expand into the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United States thanks to Zeelo’s presence, which includes 160+ employees in the United Kingdom and Barcelona. The Zeelo strategy involves switching from single-occupancy automobiles to zero-emission public transportation to get to work. In May 2022, the deal is scheduled to be finalized.
Swvl Founder and CEO Mostafa Kandil said in a statement: Swvl was formed on the notion that having access to transportation is critical to achieving economic success. Swvl and Zeelo share a vision and objective of providing dependable transportation that is economical, safe, and ecologically responsible.
Swvl’s B2B offering will be expanded as a result of the transaction, according to the company, with a managed TaaS (transport as a service) platform that connects riders to operators and drivers via their employers and schools; a SaaS licensing platform for third-party fleet operators; and partnerships with existing fleet partners (such as 200 bus operators in the U.K. and the U.S.).
Founder and CEO of Zeelo, Sam Ryan, added: Swvl is transforming the public transportation business, and we’re excited to work with them on the next chapter… Bus transportation that is well-equipped with technology can help us move away from our reliance on cars and taxis, which are not suited for trips from non-urban areas… Especially shift workers, professionals, and students in developed markets who live in locations with bad transportation.
Swvl and Zeelo, as well as the more well-known via in the United States and FlixBus in Germany, are hoping to disrupt the public transportation business with their private bus booking platform. Buses, as opposed to planned routes, are more responsive to demand. There is also an environmental benefit because it removes private automobiles from the road. Swvl’s stock, which is worth $850 million, has fallen along with the rest of the IT market. Two British entrepreneurs established Zeelo, which they sold to Addison Lee in 2014.
It has raised a total of $19.6 million. The most recent round was a $12 million Series A round, which closed in August 2021 and was led by ETF Partners (Environmental Technologies Fund) with participation from InMotion Ventures (Jaguar Land Rover’s corporate venture fund) and Dynamo (a US-based venture capital investor in mobility and supply chain). Liam Griffin (CEO Addison Lee) was the company’s first supporter and is now an angel investor.