Careem launches multi-service Super App as it looks to expand business model amid pandemic

Menna Alaa El-Din , Monday 15 Jun 2020

The Super App aims to provide the delivery of food and goods as well as online services to make life simple and hassle-free amid the pandemic

Careem Super App (Photo Courtesy of Careem)

Dubai-based ride-hailing app Careem has officially launched its Super App in the region as it looks to expand beyond its ride-hailing business amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a virtual conference on Sunday, Careem rolled out its Super App, in which it has invested around $50 million and which aims to provide the delivery of food and goods as well as online services to make life simple and hassle-free amid the pandemic.

Careem’s co-founder and CEO Mudassir Sheikha and Managing Director of Global Markets Ibrahim Manna told reporters that “while the coronavirus crisis has imposed a new reality, it has not stopped the company’s determination” to launch the application.

Careem’s activities have been hit hard by the pandemic, bringing its business down by more than 80 percent. However, it has its signaled recovery as countries locked down by the virus begin opening up.

The new app, launched in almost all of Careem’s 13 markets in 100 cities since March, will be accessible to 33 million users, 1.7 million captains, and 10,000 restaurants by the end of June.

It provides services covering three areas, including mobility of people, mobility of things and mobility of payments.

The Super App provides a multitude of services in one place to avoid distraction, Careem said, adding that its goal is to limit obstacles for consumers, merchants and captains.

Despite the roll-out of the application in almost all markets, the services available through the SuperApp will vary depending on the services needed by the market.

In some markets, the Super App features “Delivery” and “Shops”, which enable users to shop from their favorite supermarkets, bakeries and pharmacies and others.

Each shop has a catalogue, with users able to track their orders and captains able to choose between transporting people or delivering groceries, whether with bikes, cars or vans.

“There is huge demand on digital transformation due to the current crisis, with Careem focusing on business-to-business (B2B) transactions, online stores and e-payments,” Sheikha said.

On the food delivery service, Careem said it delivers around 30,000 meals daily from 10,000 restaurants in the region amid the pandemic, adding that this has made it easier for captains to have access to an additional source of income.

The Careem Pay service allows users to send credit or pay others, yet cannot be cashed out, according to Careem.

"Our goal is to make it frictionless for captains, customers and merchants, serving users and providers at both ends of the market,” Sheikha said, adding that the company has more news in store this quarter of the year, without providing more details.

According to Sheikha, users can now use bikes in the UAE after a temporary suspension in the Gulf country on the back of the virus crisis.

Around 800 bikes are available in more than 80 stations in the country, he said, adding that they have all been equipped with disinfectants.

Careem is also working on expanding the bike service to other countries in which it operates, Manna said.

The Super App also features Gift Cards, making it easier to buy vouchers online for subscriptions in Apple and Netflix, as well as the City-to-City option, which allows users to book rides for travel from one city to another.

“We will continue working to make life easier in the region,” Sheikha and Manna said, adding that “many things” are still in the pipeline.

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