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You can now use Careem bot to book via WhatsApp in Iraq

Written by Careem Iraq

Careem bot has just begun testing with a pilot scheme in Iraq to enable people to book Careem rides via WhatsApp. This is significant and ground-breaking for several reasons.

Ride-hailing is a relatively new concept in many parts of the world, and especially so in Iraq, but WhatsApp penetration throughout the country is as high as 80 percent. By allowing people to book via WhatsApp it simplifies the process, provides an alternative for people who aren’t familiar with ride-hailing apps, and enables Careem to bring improved mobility to millions more people.

Iraq is a low-bandwidth country and internet connectivity is sub-optimal, so booking via WhatsApp uses a lot less of a person’s mobile data. And in Iraq’s cash-heavy market this is a more viable alternative.

Careem estimates that the addressable market of WhatsApp users, within the Iraqi cities in which Careem operates, is around 3.94 million. The pilot will be starting in Baghdad and to begin, it will only work with existing Careem customers who are using their Careem registered phone number, but the service will open up to others in the future.

The way it works largely uses the same underlying architecture as the Careem app.

A customer sends any message to Careem bot via WhatsApp (at +964 783 334 4444) and the bot checks if that phone number is in the Careem database. If it’s not, a WhatsApp message with a link to the Careem website to signup is returned.

Careem bot is able to identify the language of the user and responds in English or Arabic depending on the initial communication. More languages are going to be added in the future.

If the person is already registered, they are asked to share their location using the “send location” feature in WhatsApp. Once shared, the user is then asked to choose the required car type, then this information creates a booking through WhatsApp as opposed to having to book through the Careem app.

The dispatching process uses Careem’s existing application programming interface and nothing actually changes in the back-end process, merely the way the information is taken from the customer.

Once the Captain is dispatched the user gets a message saying the Captain is on the way, and ETA, details of the car make and model as well as the number plate.

At the end of the journey, the passenger can also rate the journey from one-to-five via a WhatsApp message rather than clicking on a star-rating in the app.

The idea was born out of a Careem overnight-hackathon, and is built by our engineers, product and growth managers on the WhatsApp API. It’s believed that this is the first time a chatbot has been used in this way to book rides, and the potential addressable market is significant.

We’ve always sought to apply specific solutions to specific local problems, whether that’s different modes of transport or ways of operating. We are from the region and Careem is acutely aware that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach for the Middle East, so we’re always adapting to local needs.

There are around 365 million unique mobile phone subscribers in the MENA region and smartphone ownership – as opposed to regular mobile phones – is predicted to increase from 49 percent to 74 percent by 2025, but this move to enable WhatsApp booking can accelerate the accessibility of ride-hailing for millions of people instantly.

Careem’s pitch deck that returned 100X for investors

Written by Careem HQ

Careem’s pitch deck started with the words “Disclaimer – this is a HIGH RISK investment!” but for those angel investors who saw the potential, it generated a 100X return.

Seven years ago, Careem was a startup looking for investors and seven years later it ended with a $3.1 billion deal. That deal was the largest tech acquisition in the history of the region and represented a lift-off moment for startups in our part of the world.

Here’s the deck – in full – that Careem’s founders were presenting to potential investors. It’s a little piece of tech history for the Middle East, but also an insight into how a multi-billion dollar startup secured the vital early funding.

This pitch deck helped to raise $1.7 million.

Careem Bike marks Careem’s entrance into micro-mobility

Written by Mahmoud Habboub, Director of Smart Mobility

Careem has entered the micro-mobility space with the acquisition of UAE-based company Cyacle which will re-brand as Careem Bike.

Launched in December 2014, Cyacle is the leading bikeshare service in UAE – a fully-automated docked bikeshare service currently operating in Abu Dhabi. The stations run 24-hours a day via an app, a touchscreen kiosk and docking system that releases bikes using a ride code or a member key.

Following the acquisition, the new Careem Bike app will be available for iOS and Android, initially as a standalone Careem app. Users can access the bikes via app or physically at one of the smart docking stations with credit and debit cards, and the service will offer bikes through a range of daily to yearly memberships.

This acquisition and launch of Careem Bike is part of Careem’s overall platform strategy to offer complete mobility solutions, affordable transportation and first- and last-mile mobility. Careem plans to bring micro-mobility to more cities throughout the region over the next 12 months.

Careem Bikes will enhance the transport options and improve mobility both within the communities in which they are stationed, as well as providing first-and-last-mile transportation to and from other forms of transport.

Many journeys are relatively short in distance, including those to and from transportation hubs such as bus stations, so increasing bicycle availability and expanding routes will transform how people commute, as well as offering micro-mobility solutions for short-distance trips.

Bikeshare is a natural extension of Careem’s vision to improve mobility, sustainability, and affordability in the region and enhances transport options and improves mobility both within the communities in which they are stationed.

Regional governments have been investing heavily in cycling infrastructure and the promotion of cycling as a healthy, sustainable and affordable mode of transportation. Careem will continue to work closely with local governments and communities across the region to invest in bikeshare service in support of their micro-mobility goals.

Careem NOW data shows that healthy intentions falter as the week goes on

Written by Careem NOW

Careem NOW data shows that healthier options are second only to Arabic food when it comes to ordering food delivery, but healthy intentions falter as the week progresses.

That people order more healthy food on the weekdays, compared to weekends, should come as no surprise, but Careem NOW data can reveal that our intentions to eat healthier food steadily diminishes throughout the week.

The highest number of healthy cuisine orders are placed on Sunday, representing nearly one-in-five of the total orders with the Careem NOW app in Dubai. That number gradually decreases as the week goes on and by Friday just one-in-ten orders are from the healthier options available.

But despite willpower to eat healthier sliding as the week goes on, healthier options are still the second-most ordered option overall. Arabic is the most-ordered cuisine, with one-in-four dishes requested for delivery coming from Arabic restaurants, but it seems Dubai is trying to eat healthier, even if willpower fades.

American and Indian Cuisine orders go up on the weekends and people order more deserts at that time also.

In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia – where Careem NOW also operates – fast food dominates the ordering every day of the week, representing over half of all food ordered. Arabic is a – perhaps surprising – distant second with healthier options third, representing just one-in-ten orders, dropping to one-in-20 at the weekend.

Free Wi-Fi in all UAE Careem cars

Written by Careem UAE

Free Wi-Fi is available in all Careem cars throughout Dubai.

Careem is always trying to improve the service with your rides so we have partnered with Etisalat, and media tech company Snapit Digital, to provide a free, high-speed Wi-Fi to all Careem passengers in the UAE.

The new WiFi10X service – powered by Etisalat’s state-of-the-art mobile network – will be online from mid-July in all Careem’s vehicles in the country. The log-in is secured and comes with a guarantee that personal data of the customers who are connected to the Careem mobile app will not be shared with any third party. Login is with a customer’s mobile number and a one-time-password.

This agreement as it reflects our commitment to provide secure, high-speed communication to all Careem patrons on their journey. This agreement is another vital step forward in making Careem one of the safest and trusted online platforms in the region.

Careem Basra has launched in Iraq

Written by Ibrahim Manna, MD of Emerging Markets

Careem has launched ride-hailing operations in Basra, Iraq.

Basra is the third Iraqi city in which Careem operates, following their entry into the country last year in Baghdad, and then later expanding into Najaf. The launch in Basra – Iraq’s second-largest city by population – brings ride-hailing to a further 2.5 million people in the country and will operate via existing taxis throughout the city.

Taxi prices are currently unmetered, so Careem’s app will bring a more reliable and consistent approach for customers, with prices that will be at the same level as normal taxis. For taxi drivers, it will help them to connect with more passengers and increase the number of rides – and earnings – each day.

Our presence in Basra will not only improve mobility, it will also create job opportunities for the people in the city. Within the next five years, our vision is to serve hundreds of thousands of customers and create more than ten thousand job opportunities in Basra.

Basra is Iraq’s economic heart, where the majority of the country’s oil production takes place and the home of Iraq’s only deep-water port, but it’s development has been held back by ageing infrastructure and inefficient public transportation services. Careem plans to solve these issues by providing reliable, safe, secure, convenient and affordable transportation options to all segments of Basrawis.

Currently, there is no public transportation in Basra, other than small, privately-operated minibuses that serve dedicated routes but without a specific timetable or scheduled stops.

Not only is our technology is helping to create employment opportunities and provide essential mobility for millions of people in Iraq. It is our hope that Careem’s presence will encourage other companies to set up business in Iraq and join us in helping to rebuild and improve the infrastructure of the nation.

In cooperation with the World Food Programme (WFP) Careem provides its customers with a chance to Donate and help the People of Beirut

Beirut, Lebanon - 13 August 2020

In support of the efforts made by the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide food parcels to those affected by the Beirut Port explosion, Careem is offering its customers the opportunity to turn their Careem Rewards points into donations to WFP.

Through the Careem Super App, customers will be seamlessly able to donate their points from several countries where the company operates, including Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Egypt, and Pakistan.

With about 300,000 people displaced from their homes as a result of this disaster, Careem aims to enable its customers to extend a helping hand to the people of Lebanon through this campaign. Careem invites its community to join hands and stand together with those affected by the Beirut Port incident.