Madeeha: Hassan OR Careem?

Many thought Mustafa Kamal was the reason Uber came to Pakistan, weird right? Taking an Uber taxi to Karachi, it was later found that the facility was launched in Lahore only (pun intended). Unless ‘Pak Sar Zameen Party’ decides to expand their influence in Lahore, names Uber and MK are not going to band together, not anytime soon.

Lately, Lahore has been the centre of ride-for-hire apps. Madeeha Hassan – a bright young Pakistani entrepreneur who came up with the idea of Savaree, a desi alternative to the industry leader Uber (cab/carpool facility) but limited to Lahore, has been acquired by the Middle Eastern giant, Careem. It is the same company, which raised US$ 60 million late last year as the lead investor for The Abraaj Group and its cab/carpool service is now available in 20 different cities around the world. The acquisition sum, however, remains undisclosed.

Madeeha will now be working as the Product Lead, Pakistan with Careem’s global operations team. She’s previously turned down offers made by both Uber and Careem in the hopes of nurturing her startup/entrepreneurial dream which paid off in 2014. Careem CEO, Junaid Iqbal has this to say while speaking to Tech in Asia:

“We have acquired Savaree for the talent and immense local knowledge it brings along.”

This acquisition has been viewed by most as the drive for expansion of domestic market share, now that competition in the form of Uber is already starting to make waves in Pakistan. This argument can be further cemented by statement made by Uber spokeswoman Shaden Abdellatif to CNN earlier in March:

“Lahore is our first city globally to have launched cash right from the beginning. It’s a huge city. There are several universities and a lot of people commuting every day.”

Meanwhile Savaree’s brand identity will be maintained but is naturally going to fall under the parent company, Careem. For those of you wondering on how Savaree works, take a look below at the How-to infographic for navigating Savaree app.Savaree-e1459412264507

If we look at the bigger picture here, it can be safely assumed that the trend of merely studying to seek employment is seeing a sudden decline. With more and more educated and skilled individuals finding their way around Internet and mobile, the economy has shaped considerably. Pakistanis are providing freelance services. They are engaged in online marketing by bringing in the traffic from all across the world. They have become accustomed to ecommerce, and the art of buying/selling is mere clicks away. The point is there are many examples such as Madeeha’s though may not be that big in magnitude but Pakistanis are being recognized in the world for the services they deliver – that’s a plus!

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