Careem, started with $100,000 four years ago. Now it is worth $1 billion. This prestigious status has been bestowed on Careem by the $350 investment of Saudi Arabia’s state telecoms company and Japanese Internet firm Rakuten (RKUNF). Saudi Telecom is now believed to own 10% of Careem. It was also involved in earlier rounds of funding.
“There was a focus on getting investors from Saudi because Saudi was poised to be our biggest market and that’s where we needed the most help,” said Mudassir Sheikha, co-founder of Careem. This fancy taxi service is operational in 11 countries across the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia.
However, this investment comes with a huge price to pay. Since the biggest investor is a Saudi company, therefore, only Saudi native drivers are allowed to drive the Careem cabs. In Saudi Arabia, these drivers lack street sense and are unfamiliar with the city routes. This is a great disadvantage considering the unemployed workforce from other countries in KSA which could prove to be better drivers in comparison. The Saudi drivers create further problems due to their inability to speak any other language except Arabic, thus, the most of the customers fail to communicate with them effectively.
Moreover, the Customer Support is only in English or Arabic. This is a letdown in a country which has so many other nationalities working and visiting everyday. Not only that, the English customer support call is attended by an Arabic speaker which shows a lack of professionalism on the part of the famous cab company.
Therefore, many customers prefer local taxi over Careem. In a local taxi, they can easily communicate with Urdu and English speaking drivers who know their routes well. Local taxi is cheaper as compared to Careem which charges twice for a normal ride.
The lack of knowledge and experience of most of Saudi Drivers might even be the end of Careem in Saudi Arabia if they are not checked and provided by proper training.
- careem-taxi: monthlybrandspk