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SPAC Queen’s Gambit to acquire mass transit platform Swvl

Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital (Queen’s Gambit), the first special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) led by women, is to acquire Swvl, a Dubai-based provider of transformative mass transit and shared mobility solutions, in a deal that will see Swvl becoming a publicly listed company. 

Upon completion of the proposed transaction, the combined public company will be named Swvl Holdings Corp and is expected to be listed on NASDAQ under the ticker symbol “SWVL”.

Swvl, co-founded by Mostafa Kandil in 2017 when he was just 24 years old, is transforming the USD1 trillion global mass transit market. The Company’s proprietary mobility solutions, powered by cutting-edge technology, are helping to solve mass transit supply and demand challenges in complex, emerging markets – empowering massively underserved communities with transportation solutions that are reliable, convenient, safe, and affordable. Featuring diversified transit offerings that, in just a few short years, have evolved from daily commuting to inter-city retail travel, to Transport as a Service (TaaS) offerings for businesses, schools, universities and other critical service organisations, Swvl is poised to take the next step in its evolution. With clear strategic direction, a proven management team and demonstrated business model, Swvl is ideally situated for existing and new market expansion.

Mostafa Kandil, Swvl Founder and CEO, says: “Mass transit systems in cities around the world are riddled with deficiencies, resulting in congestion, environmental concerns and reduced productivity. In certain emerging market cities, commuter round-trip wait times are often greater than 40 minutes and, in one major city, upwards of 80 per cent of women reported that they have experienced harassment on public transport. Even in developed markets, the societal cost imposed by a lack of mass transit solutions can be staggering. In the United States, for instance, the annual cost of traffic is estimated to be USD88 billion, and in many parts of the world current alternatives to mass transit are prohibitively expensive. To address these problems, we founded Swvl with a simple but ambitious goal – to empower all people to go where they want to, when they want to, and to feel comfortable doing it.”

In just four years, Swvl has become the industry leader in mass transit across 10 cities in Egypt, Kenya, Pakistan, the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Jordan. Swvl’s gross revenue and markets have grown rapidly, with more than 1.4 million riders booking more than 46 million rides to date with thousands of drivers on Swvl’s platform. Swvl’s established user base has a track record of loyalty, with more than 20 per cent of inter-city riders opting to use multiple platform offerings. Further, the Company empowers drivers in emerging markets – who frequently experience income uncertainty from existing mass transit operations – to earn approximately double that of other ride-sharing platforms.

With its TaaS offerings, Swvl has already enabled more than 100 organisations around the world to reduce costs through dynamic routing, network planning, demand estimation, fleet optimisation, and other leading transit services.  With continued momentum in its TaaS offerings, the Company is well positioned to launch its high-margin SaaS solutions for institutions that maintain their own fleet and seek further efficiencies through advanced routing and planning capabilities.

Kandil adds: “We have succeeded in executing our business plan in some of the most challenging emerging markets, where inefficiencies in infrastructure and related mass transit systems represent a universal problem, and have now reached a critical inflection point where we are ready to share our expertise and technology with the rest of the world. Queen’s Gambit is an ideal partner, who shares our core values and is committed to helping accelerate Swvl’s long-term growth plans. With their partnership, as a public company, we will expand our daily commuting offerings and enterprise TaaS services that remove barriers to seamless mobility for the populations that need it most. In doing so, we will create even greater value for all stakeholders and continue innovating best-in-class technology solutions that improve the universal, daily struggle of mobility for so many.”

In alignment with Queen’s Gambit, Swvl is a mission-driven company that is focused on removing barriers to social and economic opportunity, while reducing the carbon footprint of megacities through its offerings. The combined company will draw upon Queen’s Gambit’s distinguished team of highly successful women, each of whom are at the forefront of their respective industries, have deep investment experience, and boast proven track records of successful ventures at public companies and in governance roles.

Agility, a global supply chain leader operating in many of Swvl’s key markets, has made a significant capital commitment in Queen’s Gambit and the combined company. In addition, Zain, a leading mobile voice and data services operator with nearly 50 million active customers across many of Swvl’s current markets, has invested in the combined company. As such, Swvl believes there may be opportunities for strategic and operational collaboration with Agility and Zain, which could accelerate its global expansion, increase user engagement and expand its SaaS/TaaS client base.

Victoria Grace, Queen’s Gambit Founder & Chief Executive Officer, says: “When forming Queen’s Gambit, I was squarely focused on assembling a team of highly successful and strategically-minded women with unparalleled global relationships, to identify and then grow a disruptive platform that solves complex challenges and empowers underserved populations. In Swvl, we have found each of those things and more. Having established a leadership position in key emerging markets, we believe Swvl is ready to capitalise on a truly global market opportunity. We look forward to working with their team to create significant and sustained value for investors and all stakeholders alike. We will bring to bear the collective financial and operational expertise of the Queen’s Gambit platform, for the benefit of Swvl and the communities that it serves, and believe this combination will serve as a catalyst for massive growth at scale.”

Grace adds: “We are grateful for the tremendous support received from a host of investors.  We believe the proposed transaction terms allow investors to enjoy a substantial discount to Swvl’s intrinsic value and multiples, as compared to key comparables.”

Betsy Atkins, Member of the Advisory Board of Queen’s Gambit, says: “Since being introduced to Swvl, we have been impressed by the strength and expertise of their seasoned management team, the transformative nature of their platform, its potential to rapidly gain market share across new geographies, and the positive impact of its offerings on underserved communities. Swvl’s emphasis on ensuring women’s safety when using mass transportation is particularly important to Queen’s Gambit, given our focus on fostering diversity in society and empowering traditionally under-resourced populations to succeed. We look forward to uniting our teams’ complementary experience and to taking Swvl to new heights.”   

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