Udrive closes $5m funding round

Hasib Khan, founder, Udrive. — Supplied photo
Hasib Khan, founder, Udrive. — Supplied photo

Dubai - Over the last four years, the company has empowered over 250,000 UAE members to complete over 1.4 million trips.


A Staff Reporter

Published: Tue 27 Jul 2021, 3:16 PM

Last updated: Tue 27 Jul 2021, 7:05 PM

Udrive, the app-based pay-per-minute car rental service, is accelerating its growth — by doubling its fleet size over the next three months and targeting 500 per cent revenue growth in the next 12 months — as it disrupts the transportation market in the GCC. This follows a Series A of $5 million investment led by prominent regional business leaders and three venture capitalists, bringing the post-round valuation at $20 million.

Hasib Khan, founder, Udrive, said: “As people return to work, we’re once again seeing an increased need for mobility. Whether for health and safety reasons, or the cost benefits, these individuals fully recognise the value of Udrive’s service. Furthermore, the ability to avoid large capital costs associated with owning a vehicle while still having the convenience, and the ability to enjoy the driving experience is especially attractive to expats, which make up a large portion of the population in the UAE and broader GCC region. With Expo 2020 around the corner, this mentality and temporary use of assets creates additional opportunities in an already large total addressable market for Udrive.”

Founded in 2016, Udrive was the first to fractionalise mobility by introducing the rent-by-the-minute concept to the region — giving consumers the benefit of paying only for what they use. The company scaled quickly by focusing on the large segment (60 per cent) of the market, made up of a digitally-savvy driving age population that neither wants to own a vehicle outright, nor wants to lock up their income in a depreciating asset. Over the last four years, the company has empowered over a quarter of a million UAE citizens, residents and visitors to complete over 1.4 million trips, delivering estimated savings of approximately 25 per cent, compared to traditional mobility alternatives.

Nicholas Watson, managing director, Udrive said: “Our technology stack and SaaS platform have allowed us to scale our fleet of cars, customers, and trip counts five times faster than traditional market players. With our new strategic investors, we now have unfettered access to invaluable experience in regional market dynamics, FinTech, and mobility — a perfect combination for where we are heading.”

In addition to their cash infusion, the new group of investors — which includes Cherif Sleiman of Infoblox and Asif Keshodia, former CFO of Souq.com, subsequently acquired by Amazon — collectively brings decades of experiences in successfully operating and expanding organizations, both start-ups and conglomerates, as well as access to a wider investor community. This expertise and investment will be invaluable to Udrive as it looks to accelerate its next phase of growth across the UAE and enter the KSA market.

The company intends to utilise the funding to further enhance the data analytics capabilities of its platform, with a focus on elevating customer experiences. This includes providing customers a greater degree of transparency into their trips and consequently a better understanding of pricing models and potentially lower fees. Udrive is also expanding across the Middle East, North Africa, and Turkey (MENAT) over the next six months as it looks to capitalise on the demand for fractionalised mobility in these markets.

Mena Tech investor Asif Keshodia said: “The UAE Government recognises that mobility is a fundamental pillar of the economy and has prioritised it for all citizens, residents and visitors. By advancing the car sharing industry in the country, Udrive is playing a key role in furthering the government’s mobility goals. Led by Hasib and Nicholas, they have demonstrated extreme resilience over the last 18 months and emerged stronger than ever before, proving the long-term viability of their concept and business model.”

— business@khaleejtimes.com

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