Wednesday, 28 July 2021

Swvl to go public through merger with US SPAC

Mass transportation startup Swvl could soon go public through a merger with US SPAC Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital, the Wall Street Journal reports. The ridesharing app will debut on the Nasdaq after reaching a roughly USD 345 mn “de-SPAC transaction agreement” (that’s fancy-talk for “merging with a SPAC”) that values Swvl at roughly USD 1.5 bn. A senior company official we reached out to this afternoon would only confirm that Swvl was set to make a big announcement “within the coming hours.”

Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital reportedly raised some USD 300 mn from a group of unnamed investors earlier this year and brought on an additional USD 45 mn in investment through the underwriters’ overallotment option. There’s also been talk of an additional USD 100 mn private investment in public equity (PIPE) in the works from investors like Agility, Luxor Capital Group LP and Zain Group, an unnamed source told the WSJ. Queen’s Gambit bills itself as “100% female-led.”

Four new members will join Swvl’s advisory board once the transaction goes through, including Queen’s Gambit CEO Victoria Grace, an unnamed SPAC executive, and two others, according to the WSJ.

Looking to new markets: The transaction, which would effectively see Queen Gambit take Swvl public via merger, will likely accelerate Swvl’s plans, which include tapping into “at least 50 new markets in the short term,” the senior company official told us. Developing markets, particularly in Latin America and Asia, will soon become the focus of Swvl’s expansion, where “there’s a high chance” they will be running their bus services.

Advisors: Law firm Ibrachy & Dermarkar was Swvl’s legal advisor on the merger, while Vinson & Elkins and Shahid Law Firm acted as legal advisors for Queen’s Gambit.

Background: Swvl was founded in 2017 by Mostafa Kandil, Mahmoud Nouh and Ahmed Sabbah and has since raised over USD 90 mn in from investors that include Cairo’s Sawari Ventures and Silicon Badia. Crunchbase suggests the company has raised nearly USD 175 mn from 19 investors in six rounds. The startup offers intra and inter city travel options, along with B2B partnerships with public and private institutions aimed at transporting students and employees. Since its founding, the company has moved its headquarters and base of operations from Egypt to the UAE and now operates in Jordan, Kenya and Pakistan.

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