Recently, vehicle for hire company Careem has announced its decision to leave Lebanon due to the unfavorable economic situation in the country.
“Unfortunately, due to the current economic environment in the country, we deeply regret that we’ve had to make the difficult decision to suspend our services in Lebanon starting from March 25, 2022” said the Careem team in the official statement.
Careem customers who have outstanding Careem credit or REWARDS points are encouraged to use them before March 25, 2022. If they don’t make the deadline, their remaining credit will be automatically refunded.
REWARDS points can be redeemed through the Careem app, by converting them to Emirates Skyward Miles or donating them to charity.
Careem was founded in 2012 as a service for corporate car bookings. The service gradually expanded to include personal ride-hailing and food delivery. In 2019, Careem was acquired by Uber for $3.1 billion, which made it the first unicorn startup company in the Middle East (not including Israeli unicorn startups).
During the first 10 months of 2021, Careem recorded 4.3 million rides, with 52 percent of its customers using the service to commute to work, and 46 percent using it for leisure trips.
It’s now clear that Careem’s success hasn’t been enough to offset the worsening economic situation in Lebanon. Since the start of the economic crisis, the Lebanese pound has lost more than 90 percent of its value, following a 58.1 percent contraction of Lebanon’s GDP between 2019 and 2021.
What’s more, the company has faced stiff competition from Bolt, which currently charges approximately the same as regular taxi drivers do for shorter trips. It’s tough to see yet another business leave Lebanon, but during times like this, there’s only one thing to say – yalla, bye!
Abu Dhabi’s Hub71 To Help Climate Technology Startups
The initiative was announced at the COP28 summit and will help selected startups with a $200,000 cash injection and further incentives.
Hub71, Abu Dhabi’s global technology system, has launched a new initiative to support climate technology startups backed by several of the UAE’s largest public and private sector organizations.
A total of 342 startups have submitted applications so far, with the top companies being added to a shortlist that will be revealed shortly. Selected startups will receive Dh250,000 ($68,000) in incentives and an upfront cash support package of Dh250,000. In addition, the top performers of Hub71’s new initiative will also receive a top-up of up to Dh250,000 in exchange for additional equity.
Ahmad Alwan, deputy chief executive of Hub71, said: “This initiative aims to bring in different entities that have a shared mission towards climate tech […] Throughout the journey, we will support these companies, not only from being startups to becoming mature companies but also to facilitate their engagement with entities that would support them with access to capital, market, and talent”.
The Hub71+ ClimateTech ecosystem is backed by the Abu Dhabi National Energy Company and the National Central Cooling Company, who have each pledged Dh500,000 to the initiative as anchor partners.
They are joined by corporate partners, including Abu Dhabi holding company ADQ, Aldar Properties, sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, First Abu Dhabi Bank, Masdar City, and Dubai’s Emirates NBD. In addition, Siemens Energy is also onboard as an anchor partner.
So far, Hub71 has helped 260 member startups and created over 1,000 jobs, according to the organization’s website. In addition, it has collectively raised around Dh5 billion since its foundation in 2019.