Swvl Holdings Corp., a Dubai-based ride sharing startup, acquired Turkish transportation-as-a-service operator Volt Lines in its fourth acquisition since August. The primarily stock deal, which was valued at around $40 million, gives Swvl access both to Volt Lines’ tech as well as its over 110 corporate client contracts.
Founded in 2018 by Ali Halabi, Volt Lines serves customers and corporate clients in Turkey with an alternative to public transportation and personal ride-hailing services. Volt Lines uses shared buses used by more than 110 companies in the region. As part of the deal with Swvl, Halabi will stay on to lead the Turkish unit.
EVMs have recorded 32 exits this year spanning industries and markets. Exits ensure a good return on investment for all stakeholders involved including the acquired startup and their initial investors. The MENA region accounted for half of the total exits recorded in 2022, as recorded in our MENA Q1 2022 Venture Investment Report. The highest number across EVMs was recorded by Turkey (8) followed by UAE (5).
There has been a growing trend of cross-market exits. A number of startups acquired their counterparts across geographies to expand across markets. In Turkey, the cross-pollination has been highly evident in acquisitions like Fashion & Lifestyle startup Beauty Pillow getting acquired by Dubai-based Opontia, USA-based SciPlay acquiring its Turkish counterpart Alictus to enter a new market. Earlier this year, Swvl also expanded its services to Germany by acquiring a public transport company door2door.
Ali Halabi commented on the acquisition saying, “When we launched Volt Lines four years ago, we set out to deliver a revolutionary transit experience to make commuting more reliable and affordable in Istanbul,” Halabi said. “We’re also excited about scaling our R&D center in Istanbul into a global technology hub, giving Swvl a reliable access to Turkey’s technical talent.”
Swvl was co-founded by Mostafa Kandil. The ride-sharing startup made its debut on the Nasdaq Stock Market on April 1 after merging with blank-check company Queen’s Gambit Growth Capital.
The deal furthers what Swvl Chief Financial Officer Youssef Salem has said is a plan “to rapidly pursue strategic initiatives to further enhance shareholder value.” Last month, Swvl purchased Berlin-based mobility startup Door2door. In November, it bought the mass transit company ViaPool to expand its presence in Latin America. And in August, Swvl acquired Shotl, an on-demand ride service that uses shuttle buses.