Careem, the Middle East’s leading private car booking service acquires Saudi based address coding service enwani and brings co-founder, Dr. Abdulla Elyas into the fold


Careem announced today that they have acquired enwani co-founded by Dr. Abdulla Elyas, as part of their strategy to provide leading ground transportation solutions in Saudi Arabia. Elyas will follow the business into Careem to lead the development and expansion of Careem across the Kingdom.

KSA, Riyadh: Careem, the UAE-headquartered app and web-based chauffeur-driven car booking service which serves 14 cities across the Middle East, plans to integrate the enwani cloud-based proprietary software to enrich its technology and operations platform. Careem was founded in Dubai in 2012 and now operates in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Beirut, Cairo, Dammam, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Karachi, Khobar, Kuwait, Lahore and Riyadh.

This is the first strategic acquisition for the technology start-up who themselves are backed so far with more than $12 Million USD by both STC Ventures (Saudi Telecom’s VC arm) and more recently by Al Tayyar to further expand and enhance their operations across the Kingdom.

enwani was started in 2012 by Saudi and German entrepreneurs Maaged Mazyek, Usama Elyas and Abdulla Elyas and backed by angel investor Ammar Allaoui. Its app offers the easiest way to save and share exact physical addresses with friends and businesses eliminating the exercise of giving directions to get the delivery finally to the customer’s doorstep.

After inception, product development and launch, enwani was successfully incubated by Saudi-based BADIR enabling it to become a fully-fledged, highly growing and now acquired business. BADIR is an initiative from the King Abdul Aziz City for Science & Technology and offers entrepreneurs in the technology space the opportunity to receive all the necessary tools for getting business ideas off the ground – from guidance on financing through to product development, IP and marketing strategies to ensure optimal success.

Careem was started by Magnus Olsson and Mudassir Sheikha both former consultants at McKinsey & Company. It allows customers to book a car for a precise time in the future or order it on-demand through Careem’s website or its mobile apps. It serves a large number of corporate clients and individual customers who reportedly like the service for its convenience, reliability and safety.

In the last one year, Careem has established presence in the major cities in Saudi, including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Khobar. The service has been widely adopted by corporate clients and a lot of females for its reliability, convenience and safety.

On the acquisition of enwani, Magnus Olsson co-founder and head of technology at Careem commented: “acquiring enwani was a two-fold strategic move for us: firstly it brings us a unique and highly relevant and applicable tool to enhance our existing platform; but equally, it brings us our lynch pin in the Kingdom – Dr Abdulla Elyas. In Dr Abdulla we have a brilliant co-founder who is dedicated to improving the lives of people and businesses living and operating in the Kingdom.”

Dr Abdulla, founder of enwani and now tri-partite founder of Careem commented, “My enwani co-founders and I are thrilled to be in a position to exit our company yet at the same time continue to be hands-on in its development and application in the lives of everyday people via its integration into Careem. For me, this is the next and logical step for continuing our mission to improve the ground transportation network and home delivery capabilities in our region.”

Commenting on the deal news, BADIR’s CEO Nawaf Al Sahhaf noted: “the acquisition of enwani just two years into its life-cycle is testament to our notion that Saudi Arabia can be, and is, home to innovative and exciting new ideas in the world of science and technology. To see enwani go from a brilliant idea to a successful business that has now been acquired, is exactly what we set out to do. BADIR encourages entrepreneurs in this space to come forward and to share their ideas with us so we can help make them a reality. We take great pride in seeing them flourish and insh’allah, watch them follow in the footsteps of our friend Dr Abdualla Elyas and his revolutionary project, enwani.”

Careem is now focused on utilizing the intelligence, software and talent the recent acquisition of enwani brings to enhance its product offering across Saudi Arabia.

About Careem

Careem is a ground transportation technology company, which makes ordering chauffeur-driven cars reliable, safe, convenient and affordable. Its customers can order a chauffeur-driven car on or through Careem’s mobile apps; track their rides in real-time; pay with credit cards and access receipts online. Established in July 2012, Careem operates in and has offices across 14 cities in the Middle East, including Abu Dhabi, Beirut, Cairo, Dhahran, Doha, Dubai, Jeddah, Dammam, Karachi, Kuwait, Khobar, Lahore, Manama, and Riyadh.

About Enwani

enwani is a cloud-based addressing technology company, which makes sharing physical addresses with friends and businesses easy and seamless. Its cloud is accessed by corporate clients who improve home delivery efficiency to the benefit of their operations and to their customers. Established in 2012, enwani was awarded to be the most investable company 2013 by Sophia Business Angels in France for its invention of the first rolled out address system in the cloud. enwani was incubated by BADIR in 2013 and acquired by Careem in August 2014.

About Badir

As the Kingdom’s leading research institution for science and technology, the King Abdul Aziz Centre of Science & Technology has established a national technology innovation program under the name of BADIR. The BADIR program for technology incubation focuses on supporting technology based business opportunities and the development of technology entrepreneurship.