We often hear about disruption and tech companies being disruptors – it has become one of the dominant themes in recent years.
As a company that started out as a ride-hailing service, it’s easy to see why people associate Careem with disruption. In other parts of the world, ride-hailing companies have disrupted established orders, but given how Careem started out and where in the world we launched, Careem is something different – an enabler.
Careem’s technology is allowing this region to skip through many of the years of transport evolution that Europe or North America went through. And for many people in the region, Careem has changed their lives by providing mobility that was previously problematic or simply didn’t exist. Our growth across the MENA region is driving affordability and choice and improving societies.
Before Careem launched, citizens of Bahrain were regularly dependent on their fathers, brothers or husbands to get them around and they were not in complete control of their daily lives. They may want to go out, but there’s no car at home so they must wait for the private driver who is already out taking their mother somewhere. Now if they need to go somewhere, they just press a button and a car arrives. The Careem service was transformative.
Careem is also offering peer-to-peer credit transfers now.
It’s easy to sometimes forget that bank accounts and cards that many of us take for granted are not available to everyone. In fact, according to the World Bank, only 14 percent of people in the Middle East have access to a bank account. That means there are hundreds of millions that have no means of storing cash in a secure manner or the ability to make digital payments.
Cash is still the main form of payment in the region including for Careem rides. But with smartphone penetration on the rise, the wallet is going to be an increasingly common way of paying in the coming years. Careem wants to stay ahead of this change and they are working to bring new payment services to their customers which will ultimately help them simplify the lives of users.