The investment comes in addition to a $15 million convertible bond issuance and will allow them to expand into 24 new cities.
Dubai-based B2B ride-hailing service, KOI Ride, has announced the raise of a $3 million funding round led by UAE’s CEG Invest and Singapore’s Taurus Wealth. The startup has also issued a $15 million convertible bond secured by a pledge of its shares, with an unnamed Swiss private bank providing $2 million worth of anchor money into the convertible bond, while a Geneva and Dubai-based asset management company has invested $350K.
Founded in 2018 by Ghassan Muradwij and Riyaz Alambath, KOI Ride looks to provide B2B services for the global travel industry, with proprietary technology connecting online booking portals with licensed transport providers around the world. In addition to its home territory, KOI Ride also offers its services in London, New York, Las Vegas and Cancun, as well as in five cities in Turkey: Istanbul, Bodrum, Antalya, Izmir and Dalaman. With the new funding, the startup will look to expand into 24 new cities across the Americas, Europe and the Middle East.
Things haven’t always been smooth sailing, though, with the pandemic forcing the startup to rework its strategy to focus on select cities with high frequency of tourism. “We have seen the travel industry recover at a tremendous pace in 2022, people are excited to travel once again and we are on pace to hit 2019 numbers,” said Alambath, who also serves as the CEO. “With airport transfers being one of the most profitable products for online travel agencies and people leaning more towards a private transfer than a shared one post COVID,” he continues with co-founder and CFO, Muradwij, adding: “KOI Ride is positioned perfectly to take advantage of the recovery. Through the use of our technology, we are helping OTA’s standardise the quality of service globally with the aim of increasing the global market size.”
The company’s investment and ambitious expansion speaks highly of a regionally prolific transport & logistics (T&L) sector. In Q1’22, the sector came in second in regards to the amount of funding in UAE startups, experiencing a 40% increase from Q1’21. Startups working in and around T&L have disrupted everything from freight management and mobility services, to q-commerce and car rental, with the likes of TruKKer, AHOY, Quiqup and Carasti claiming some of the biggest raises across MENA.