Uber’s Careem eyes Egypt’s food delivery market, invests in elmenus

EGYPT – Careem, a subsidiary of American company Uber, based in the United Arab Emirates, is seeking to invest an undisclosed sum in Egypt’s leading food-delivery app, elmenus, tapping into the growth potential of North Africa’s most populous nation.

The partnership with elmenus, which connects customers with more than 12,000 eateries in five Egyptian cities, will extend Careem’s reach.

The North African country of 100 million people, where everything from a slice of cake to a blood test can be sent to your door, represents a sizable and still largely untapped market for apps like elmenus.

While Egypt’s food delivery market is worth an estimated US$2.8 billion, 90% of customers still order by phone, reports Bloomberg.

Careem said the agreement with elmenus was a further step in launching its Super App across the region.

 In the United Arab Emirates, the function offers 11 services that include ride-hailing, food and grocery delivery and payments. Its own food-delivery operations serve cities across Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Jordan, Pakistan and Qatar.

Uber bought Careem for US$3.1 billion in a landmark deal that closed just over two years ago.

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The Dubai-based company follows Egyptian payment firm Fawry and the former CEO of Just Eat in committing funds to elmenus.

Fawry was the leading investor in the company’s US$10 million pre-Series C funding round which saw participation of New York-based hedge fund Luxor Capital, and Egyptian property developer Marakez.

This came after the startup secured a Series B investment from David Buttress, the former chief executive officer (CEO) of global food-ordering firm Just Eat, who also joined the startup’s board as it plots aggressive expansion.

Elmenus had originally started as a food discovery platform and expanded into delivery with its own fleet in 2018.

It counts Delivery Hero SE’s Talabat and Jumia Technologies AG among its competitors.

Jumia tapped into Egypt’s food delivery market with launch of Jumia Foods in the first quarter of 2021.

That was a strategic move for Jumia following the cessation of Uber Eats services in the North African country in May 2020.

Meanwhile, Talabat, is securing its market share as it expanded its outsourcing services in the North African country with a regional customer service center located in Cairo.

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