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Uber Middle East rival Careem nears $300m funding



PHOTO: Bloomberg

Careem Networks FZ, which competes with Uber Technologies Inc. in the Middle East, is close to raising about $300 million in its first round of funding, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

The Dubai-based ride-hailing company plans additional funding rounds, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private. Careem is seeking cash from a group of prominent financial and strategic investors, one of the people said, without providing names. No final agreements have been reached and talks may falter, the people said.

Regional ride-hailing services globally are raising cash to expand their businesses to better compete with the more established companies. Ola, India’s largest such startup, is in talks to raise about $600 million and may close the deal by the end of the year, seeking to counter competition from Uber, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

Careem was working with Credit Suisse Group AG to raise as much as $500 million, people familiar with the matter said in September, adding that the company could be valued at more than $1 billion after the funding. The company raised $60 million last year from investors including Abraaj Group to expand in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Investors in Careem’s earlier funding rounds include the venture-capital arm of Saudi Telecom Co., Dubai-based Wamda Capital and Saudi Arabia’s Al Tayyar Travel Group.

Representatives for Careem and Credit Suisse didn’t immediately comment.

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