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Cairo’s Shift EV Raises Series A to Convert Cars into Electric

The electric mobility startup’s unique, easy-to-apply electric batteries have caught the eyes of regional and international investors.

With investments in Egypt’s transport and logistics sector growing by a remarkable 280% in 2021, it’s clear that there is room for more innovators, more disruptors in a space that can have untold impact on other sectors. Even startups working in the space on more specific solutions are finding success, none more so than Cairo-based electric mobility startup, Shift EV, which has just announced the close of an undisclosed Series A round led by a cohort of previous investors in Cairo’s Algebra Ventures, Dubai’s Wamda and Oman’s otf Jasoor Ventures, as well as first-time investor, New York-based Union Square Ventures.

Founded in 2020 by Aly El Tayeb, Amr Helmy and Sherif Nassef, Shift EV has developed a retrofitting process based on proprietary Lego-like batteries that can turn any conventional vehicle into an electric one. Working out of a plant that has taken an assembly-line approach to vehicle conversions, the startup offers a subscription-based business model - or batteries-as-a-service, if you will.

With over 1.5 million commercial vehicles clogging up the roads in Egypt alone, the market is there for the taking, especially considering that the cost of electric passenger cars are highly expensive in the context of an emerging market like Egypt, with Shift EV’s retrofitting costing a fraction of what one might pay for an EV. Recent government regulations have served to aid Shift EV on its mission, something echoed by others in the ecosystem.

“We’re in line with government goals on FDI, mobility and electrification, and that’s helped a lot,” explains Ali El Tayeb, who also serves as the startup’s CEO. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from government institutions. We’re certified as safe and road-ready by the main regulatory bodies and there’s a lot of credit due to the ministers of industry and finance. They’re being really forward-thinking and progressive in how they’re helping build a local EV industry.”

As mentioned, funding in the sector rocketed in 2021, though a large part of that can be attributed to Halan’s $120 million mega-round in September of that year. Much of that investor interest was focused on on-demand logistics solutions, such as those provided by B2B trucking marketplace, Trella, which raised a $42 million Series A round in July. If you bring Turkey into the fold, the logistics sector across MENAPT,  experienced remarkable growth investment, which surpassed the $1 billion mark in 2021, though much of that can be attributed to Turkey-based delivery network Getir raising $938 million across three rounds. 

With this newly acquired capital, Shift EV has set itself a target of 1 million kilometres with the conversion of last-mile delivery fleets, though for the next round, the startup is looking to raise enough capital to begin exploring regional expansion.




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