Saudi prince joins Daimler in Careem investment

DUBAI • Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has joined Daimler, the world's biggest luxury carmaker, as an investor in a US$500 million (S$690 million) fund-raising by a Dubai-based ride-hailing firm.

Prince Alwaleed's investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding, will get a seat on Careem Networks FZ's board as part of the deal, Careem said in a statement.

DCM Ventures and New York-based Coatue Management also took part in the second round of fund-raising, which valued the company at US$1 billion, the ride-hailing company said.

Careem raised US$350 million from investors including Japan's Rakuten and Saudi Telecom when it announced the results of its first round of fund-raising in December. The firm could consider selling shares to the public by 2019, chief executive Mudassir Sheikha said.

Investment is flowing into Middle Eastern technology start-ups as companies seek to profit from the region's wealthy consumer base and high smartphone penetration rates.

Saudi Telecom has created a US$500 million investment fund to be run by former Google executive Abdulrahman Tarabzouni.

Dubai-based business tycoon Mohamed Alabbar also is increasingly focusing more on technology investments.

He acquired a "large stake" in venture capital firm Middle East Venture Partners last month, and has raised US$1 billion from investors, including Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund, to create e-commerce firm Noon.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 16, 2017, with the headline 'Saudi prince joins Daimler in Careem investment'. Print Edition | Subscribe