March 2020CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
November 2018SWVL raises series-B funding round
June 2018DiGAME awarded Best Large Cap Exit for GetSmarter
April 2018Egyptian startup Swvl raises $8 million Series A
November 2017DiGAME takes strategic stake in 10X Investments
October 2017Rhino Africa wins prestigious award
July 20172U, Inc. to Acquire GetSmarter
The Coronavirus situation is changing daily. We want to reassure all our stakeholders of the steps we are taking and how we are responding to the situation.
We are all working from home and have been since March 16th. We have wound down all face-to-face meetings and are now conducting all meetings over technology through a voice or video call.
We are in close contact with our portfolio companies to understand how we can support them through this unprecedented time. We will do whatever we can to help them navigate the next period.
As a team we have regularly used flexible working so have been able to adapt quickly. We remain on email and mobiles for all communications for our companies, investors and partners.
The DiGAME Investing Team
SWVL, the Cairo-based/Egyptian app-based mass transit system disrupting the way commuters travel in the MENA region, has announced a Series B funding round, the exact size of which is undisclosed. All existing investors as well as some new regional and local investors have participated.
The round was co-led by Africa-based investor DiGAME and regional venture fund BECO Capital, alongside global VC fund Silicon Badia. Other investors participating in the round include Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Sawari Ventures, Oman Technology Fund, Dash Ventures, Esther Dyson, chairman of EDventure Holdings and Emilian Popa.
According to Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of SWVL, “It is about time we built a billion dollar company out of Egypt. With this round we are committed to being more customer centric than ever and to build top class operations. We will also continue developing world-class technology that solves the daily struggle of commuting in emerging markets. This round is the biggest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt and one of the biggest Series B rounds ever raised in the MENA region.”
With the funding, SWVL will continue to solidify its position as a global leader in building tech-enabled public transportation.
SWVL was founded by three young entrepreneurs - Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, who have built a strong team with their most recent joiners such as Rafael Coronel, who founded Cabify’s (Uber of Latin America, Spain and Mexico) data science team and Emilian Popa, who was one of the key executives that scaled Rocket Internet in China, South Africa and Russia.
SWVL emerges from a significant problem that emerging market commuters suffer from on daily basis - finding reliable, affordable and convenient public transport, which is a given in developed markets. In emerging markets, commuters are torn between two extremes: expensive on-demand ride-hailing services and less than reliable and inconvenient public transportation. This is coupled with a supply-side that operates at low efficiency levels. SWVL comes in to fill in this gap by providing an alternative that is more reliable and convenient than public transportation yet cost competitive.
20 months since inception SWVL has grown impressively from doing tens of bookings a month to hundreds of thousands of rides per month, serving tens of thousands of customers on its network of 200+ routes in Cairo and Alexandria.
SWVL widens access to new commuting solutions and, ultimately, seeks to re-model public transportation in other emerging markets. This year, the company has plans to consolidate its global position and bring the service to more markets that suffer from an inadequate public transportation infrastructure. UN reports on key trends in urbanization indicate that by 2030, 60% of the planet’s residents will be living in cities, creating a previously unknown demand for commuting services, and a US$5.4 trillion economic opportunity.
At the 7th Annual Private Equity Africa Awards hosted at London's Langham Hotel on 12. June, DiGAME Investment Company was awarded 'Large Cap Exit of the Year' for the 2017 sale of GetSmarter.
In May of 2017, South African online education provider GetSmarter was sold to US firm 2U, Inc. for US$103 million.
DiGAME CIO, Samer Salty, received the award on behalf of the team saying, "Amongst such competition for this prestigious award, the team at DiGAME is delighted to be recognised for this achievement. DiGAME Investment Company has pan-African mandate to invest growth capital in technology-enabled businesses. We believe in the transformative power of technology in Africa to positively change lives and are excited about the opportunities we are seeing across the African continent."
The company that connects Egypt’s 25 million daily commuters to buses seeks to optimize micro-transit within and beyond Egypt
SWVL, the premium app-based mass transit system disrupting commuting in the MENA region, announced a USD8 million Series A led by regional venture fund BECO Capital, alongside Africa-based investor DiGAME Investment Company and global VC fund Silicon Badia. Raed Ventures, Arzan VC, Oman Technology Fund, and chairman of EDventure Holdings Esther Dyson, also participated in the round, which is Egypt’s largest Series A as of yet. The round comes as both primary and secondary.
According to Mostafa Kandil, co-founder and CEO of Swvl, "the USD 8m round is the biggest round of funding for a tech startup in Egypt and one of the biggest rounds in the Middle East. With the funding, Swvl will solidify its position in Egypt and establish the company as a global leader in the affordable smart mobility space, offering fixed routes for a fixed flat fare at prices that are up to 80% cheaper than on-demand ride-hailing services.”
We’re trying to build our own version of public transportation, that’s smarter basically,” Kandil, who’s now 25 and earned a spot on Forbes Middle East’s 30 under 30 ranking, along with Nouh and Sabbah his co-founders.
According to Nouh and Sabbah “Swvl intends to invest 300 million EGP in the local market in the upcoming 3 years to empower as many micro-entrepreneurs as possible in Egypt and the region and to become one of the biggest job creators in the country.” Swvl is expected to expand beyond Egypt to other emerging markets across the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa region within 2018.
Swvl was founded by three young entrepreneurs - Mostafa Kandil, Ahmed Sabbah and Mahmoud Nouh, who have built a strong team with experience from Careem, Google, Uber, Quora, Rocket Internet and DeliveryHero.
Kandil also gladly announced Esther Dyson, on behalf of DiGAME, will be joining Swvl’s Board of Directors along with Dany Farha the CEO & co-founder of BECO Capital and the co-founder of Bayt.com. Esther was previously on the board of Yandex, which recently acquired Uber Russia.
Essentially, SWVL emerges from a double-sided problem. On the demand side, nearly 25 million Egyptian daily commuters, a quarter of the country’s population, are torn between two extremes: expensive on- demand ride-hailing services and less than reliable and inconvenient public transportation. This is coupled with a supply-side opportunity where the economic turndown in Egypt has limited the purchasing power of an aspirational middle-class and, simultaneously, generated a wealth of untapped private infrastructure. With the market finally ready for new transportation disrupters, lifted up by the success of Uber and Careem, and consumers looking for more inclusive and more affordable solutions, SWVL closes this gap by providing an alternative that is more reliable and convenient than public transportation yet cost competitive.
In under a year the company grew to do hundreds of thousands of rides per month with hundreds of buses in its network along 200 routes in Cairo and Alexandria. Customers are a mix of university students and corporate employees with a large portion of women commuters, who want to avoid harassment on public transportation. Eventually, SWVL aspires to cater to all customer segments by building out their network, optimization, and differentiated product offerings. “We try to solve all of our problems with technology,” says Kandil.
Building out of Egypt, SWVL widens access to new commuting solutions and, ultimately, seeks to re-model public transportation beyond Cairo and Alexandria, and into other emerging markets. This year, the company has plans to solidify its position in Egypt and expand into Karachi and Riyadh—big cities with inadequate public transportation infrastructure that have embraced on-demand ride-hailing. UN report on key trends in urbanization indicate that by 2030, 60% of the planet’s residents will be living in cities, creating a previously unknown demand for commuting services, and a US$5.4 trillion economic opportunity.
SWVL is an Egypt-based tech startup that enables riders heading in the same direction to share fixed-route bus trips for a flat fare with no surge pricing. The service is up to 70% cheaper than competing on-demand ride-hailing services, and is currently available on 140 routes in Cairo and Alexandria with plans to expand within and beyond Egypt. Customers can schedule their pick-up and drop-off points on fixed routes at fixed times, and pay through the app or in cash.
10X Investments, a South African tech-enabled asset manager, today announced that DiGAME Investment Company, a key investor in leading online education game-changer GetSmarter, had made a strategic investment in 10X alongside existing shareholder Old Mutual Private Equity.
Announcing a total of US$6.14 million in new funding, 10X said it would use the funds to further expand its retail offering and look at international opportunities.
10X – which manages more than R8bn for individuals and blue-chip clients such as Virgin Active, General Motors and Deutsche Bank – is shaking up the sector in South Africa in much the same way Vanguard, now the second largest asset manager globally, has done in the U.S.
Since its inception in 2008, the 10X High Equity portfolio has outperformed the average large fund manager before fees, as published in the Alexander Forbes Large Manager Watch.
The company uses four core principles – index tracking, low fees, diversification and time-driven portfolios – to deliver competitive, long-term investment returns.
'A simple online investing process, fees that are typically up to 80% less than the industry, and our award-winning investment strategy means more money for our clients at retirement,' said CEO and founder of 10X Investments, Steven Nathan. 'The new round of funding will allow us to further empower South Africans who want to benefit from 10X’s simple and effective investment strategy.'
'We are delighted to have the support of our existing investors and to welcome DiGAME on board,' added Nathan.
Wealth managers have historically operated in a relatively low-tech environment, but millennial customer expectations, growing market competition and more stringent reporting requirements have compelled them to rethink their businesses using technology. In the US alone, the wealth tech sector will have an estimated market size of US$2.2 trillion by 2020, according to FT Partners Research Wealth Tech Report.
The opportunity to combine technology with proven investment strategies means there has never been a better time to be involved in the fintech sector.
In South Africa, however, assets managed by index trackers remain a fraction of total assets under management, mainly due to a lack of awareness.
Samer Salty, a DiGAME board member, said, '10X is already a major player in the South African market, and the opportunity to scale the business, which has proven superior investment returns, is substantial.'
'Advanced analytical capabilities, quicker response times and improved customisation, all at significantly lower costs than traditional asset managers, means 10X plays to our expertise in technology growth investing as well as demonstrating a clear social benefit,' he added.
'We are excited to join Steven Nathan and the management team of 10X at this important time and are also pleased to be teaming up with Old Mutual Private Equity and the other shareholders in this investment,' Salty concluded.
Rhino Africa's award cabinet is starting to get cramped after being crowned Africa's Leading Safari Company for the fifth year running. The world travel elite touched down in Kigali, Rwanda on Tuesday, 10th October 2017 for the annual World Travel Awards. This event, lauded as the most prestigious in the travel industry's awards programme, sees industry game-changers and powerhouses come together one night a year to celebrate the who's who in the World Travel zoo. The 2017 award has come hot on the heels of Rhino Africa's Gold and Silver taken home from the New Generation Social & Digital Media Awards which took place just days before.
LANHAM, Md., USA and CAPE TOWN, South Africa – May 2, 2017 – 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ: TWOU), a leader in partnering with colleges and universities to deliver the world's best digital education, announced today, that it has entered into an agreement to acquire GetSmarter (incorporated as Get Educated International Proprietary Limited), a leader in collaborating with universities to offer premium online short courses to working professionals. Both 2U and GetSmarter focus on delivering high-quality, high-touch digital higher education from world class colleges and universities to unlock a student’s full potential.
GetSmarter powers engaging online short courses in partnership with some of the world’s most renowned higher education institutions, including the University of Cambridge, Harvard University’s strategic online learning initiative, HarvardX, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Africa’s top three universities, University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand and University of Stellenbosch Business School. It is a high growth business that has served more than 50,000 students since inception with course completion rates that average 88%. GetSmarter’s portfolio includes over 70 short courses offered with its university partners, including Business Sustainability Management from the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership, Global Health Delivery from HarvardX, and Healthcare Informatics from the University of Chicago. GetSmarter operates under a revenue share model with its university clients.
2U will acquire GetSmarter in all-cash transaction for approximately $103 million, subject to certain purchase price adjustments, and an earn-out payment of up to $20 million in cash, subject to achievement of certain financial milestones in calendar years 2017 and 2018. Subject to various closing conditions, the acquisition is expected to close during the third quarter of 2017. The acquisition is expected to strengthen 2U’s position in the approximately $1.9 trillion global higher education market which is expected to grow approximately 8% in 2017, while accelerating two of the company’s key strategic growth initiatives – expanding internationally and into non-degree alternatives.
“GetSmarter’s pursuit of quality in online education, demonstrated by a uniquely high student course completion rate that averages 88% is truly remarkable and mirrors 2U’s mission to offer the world’s best digital education as defined by our partner students’ outcomes and satisfaction.” said Christopher “Chip” Paucek, CEO and co-founder of 2U. “With GetSmarter, 2U expects to strengthen its position as a leader in digital education. We also expect to accelerate our growth, extend our global footprint and provide a broader suite of services by matching up more students to the right programs at the right time as they further their professional and personal development.”
“In 2U we have found a partner who makes us stronger. They bring deep experience and access to capital that allows us to pursue stellar growth and stand out student outcomes at scale.” said Sam Paddock, CEO and co-founder of GetSmarter. “We look forward to better serving our University partners and their students across the globe.”
2U intends to continue to grow its core business of powering online domestic graduate degree programs, a market that continues to provide strong and attractive growth opportunities. Following the closing of the acquisition, GetSmarter will be an independently operating, wholly-owned subsidiary of 2U, based in Cape Town, South Africa. GetSmarter will continue to be operated by its current management team, including its founders, Sam Paddock and Rob Paddock, with GetSmarter co-Founder & CEO, Sam Paddock, remaining as its CEO and reporting to Chip Paucek.
About 2U, Inc. (NASDAQ:TWOU)
2U partners with great colleges and universities to build what we believe is the world’s best digital education. Our platform provides a comprehensive fusion of technology, services and data architecture to transform high-quality and rigorous campus-based universities into the best digital versions of themselves. 2U's No Back Row® approach allows qualified students and working professionals around the world to experience a first-rate university education and successful outcomes. To learn more, visit 2U.com.