Careem, the first ride-hailing service in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region soon became a beloved name among its people. It was founded in July 2012 in Dubai by a Pakistani and a Swede, and within five years of its launch, it became a sensation in the region. Today, Careem has expanded its operations to cover 100 cities in 13 countries, stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. In 2016, the Google play store recognized it as the “Best Local App,” while it was also awarded the Gulf Business Best Startup of the Year, cementing its position as a leading player in the MENA ride-hailing industry.
With over 33 million registered users and over 1 million drivers, Careem has established itself as a leading ride-hailing service in the region. The company’s business model is expertly tailored to leverage technology, utilizing the Captain App, Passenger App, and Admin Dashboard to deliver a seamless user experience.
The business model that worked wonders for Careem
Due to the low credit card penetration rate in the Middle East, Careem has developed a new business model that offers a variety of payment methods to its passengers, including cash, credit, invoice, and credit in the wallet. Meanwhile, the company has also adapted its operating model to better serve both passengers and captains.
For B2B bookings on the invoice and B2C bookings on credit cards, Careem pays the captain. However, for B2C cash bookings, captains must pay Careem. Currently, over 90% of Careem bookings are made in cash, which means that captains need to pay Careem more often than the company pays captains.
When passengers pay with credit cards, Careem takes a percentage of the fare, and the remainder goes to the captains. However, when passengers pay with cash, Careem blocks the captain from accepting another trip until they have settled their previous fare. This occurs when captains exceed the cash-blocking limit set by Careem.
The Unique Reward System
Careem has integrated a distinctive reward system into its business model, allowing users to scratch rewards directly from the Careem app without having to sign up. These rewards and benefits include free rides, the ability to donate to charity and feed a child, and the opportunity to provide assistance to others. These rewards are just a tap away, and Careem has also provided users with access to even more rewards. Upon upgrading to Careem Gold, users are treated to a trio of ingredients that make for a truly delightful experience: bonus points, exclusive offers, and priority support.
Perks Of The Multi-purpose App
In June 2020, Careem introduced its super app as a solution to common problems faced by people. By combining various services such as food delivery, seamless payments, availability of bus services, and business travel ride services into one app, Careem aimed to simplify the lives of its users. To promote this app, Careem launched an impressive campaign that was inspired by the company’s brand promise of “One app. Less hassle. More Life.”
By leveraging its existing business model, the company transformed itself into an all-encompassing lifestyle app. Initially, Careem’s focus was on food and pharmaceutical delivery services. However, the company later expanded to offer a wider range of goods and services. To develop its delivery platform, Careem Now, the company invested $150 million. As Careem Now is integrated into Careem, users can enjoy the convenience of having their information and address automatically populated in the app.
Careem, the ride-sharing company hailed as the Middle East’s unicorn, is contemplating venturing into India by utilizing a tech-based bus shuttle service called Commut, whose local operations have been acquired by Shuttl. Commut has facilitated more than 750,000 trips for over 70,000 customers on 100+ routes in Hyderabad since November 2015, and now it will aid Careem’s foray into mass transportation.
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