Amid the legal conflict between the authorities and Uber and Careem in Egypt, the tuktuk and motorcycle ride-sharing app prepares to launch its first ride in three months.
Halan App, the Cairo-based ride-sharing application targeting motorcycle and tuktuk owners, is looking to land $2 million for its pre-series A, of which it already has raised more than 75 percent. “We’re well on our way to our goal of closing a pre-series ‘A’ with both financial and potentially strategic investors participating,” Halan CEO Mounir Nakhla says, refusing to reveal the 75 percent figure or identify the investors with whom the startup is negotiating.
He only agreed to reveal that the investors on board are from Silicon Valley and Singapore, in addition to strategic investors. With nearly 10,000 downloads of the Android app since its launch in November 2017, Chief Marketing Officer Dina Ghabbour says they’re launching an iOS app in April.
Moreover, Halan looks to expand to more governorates across Egypt this year. The ride-sharing app has already rolled out a televised national advertising campaign last January, starring Mahmoud El-Leithy singing while navigating Cairo streets on a tuktuk. They have also rolled out outdoor ads in different spots in Greater Cairo.
However, it is still not clear whether the business model will survive amid the never-ending conflict between ride-hailing apps Uber and Careem on one side, and the authorities and taxi drivers on the other. In spite of its usefulness in narrow streets in informal neighborhoods that don’t allow four-wheeled vehicles like Ard El-Lewa and Izbet el-Haggana, tuktuks are viewed as a dangerous pest to the street community, due to a number of deadly accidents that have heavily involved tuktuks in the past few years. The government is trying to keep count and track of tuktuks by placing numbered metal plates, however they did not succeed at keeping track of the entire bulk that has been fluxing its way in Egypt since the early 2000s.
Back in May 2017, we took a road trip to the workshop building the modern version of the tuktuk, run by Egyptian entrepreneur Ahmed El Feqi. Nested in a massive garage just 10 kilometres from the Great Pyramids of Giza, El-Feqi created a four-wheeled mini-car that hopes to replace its three-wheeled counterpart. Now, his business resides in the garage, where he leads his team of about 40 technicians; composed of welders, mechanics, electricians, and glass cutters.
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