Savaree has been acquired by Careem, Lahore’s home grown pioneer of car hailing services, said in a statement issued by the company. The deal was not disclosed from either side.
Madeeha Hassan founded Madeeha Hassan Savaree in January 2014. With the acquisition done, Madeeha will be joining Careem’s global product team and will enjoy the position of company’s product lead for Pakistan.
While Careem and Savaree in particular have been operating in Pakistan for some time, the consolidation does not come as a surprise. Madeeha has rejected the chance to work for Uber and Careem both in the past but But since the Uber has arrived in Pakistan, local startups have to do something to compete the Taxi giant. The company is perfectly content with hemorrhaging money to gain a foothold in new markets.
In China alone, Uber is losing $1 billion a year to compete against local apps. There’s even a global alliance of ride sharing apps that connect with each other to help customers when they visit another country. So is Careem acquiring Savaree an astute move? Definitely. Despite Savaree being a solid product, it’s almost certainly a talent acquisition. Madeeha knows the Pakistani market inside and out and her expertise will be needed by Careem to become the ride-hailing app of choice for customers.
Junaid Iqbal, Managing Director of Careem, had to say:
We have had serious admiration for Madeeha, her grit, her entrepreneurial spirit and her awesome tenacity. She built Savaree from ground up, knows the nuts and bolts of this business and we are super excited to have her on board and lead product innovation for Pakistan. Careem’s strength in the region has been its localization of products, and Madeeha’s addition to the team is a shot in the arm on that front.
Madeeha commented on this acquisition:
This is still dream like for me. Hailing from Sadiqabad, graduating in Biotechnology, launching a tech startup, and to be acquired within 2 years, and now to join Careem, which is among the region’s most exciting startups. I see in Careem the same vision and values that I identify with deeply.
Careem has been operating in Pakistan since October 2015 and operates in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. It’s one of the largest and fastest growing app based car hailing service in the MENA region and raised $60 million last year in the process.