A smart bus scaleup headquartered in London has been snapped up in an £80 million deal.

NASDAQ-listed Swvl Holdings Corp, a global provider of tech-enabled mass transit solutions, has acquired Zeelo, which has 160 staff across the world including 29 software engineers based in its Barcelona R&D hub.

It is the latest in several acquisitions as Swvl expands its business operations in three strategic developed markets including the UK, South Africa and the US.

The two firms say they are aligned on a mission to shift away from single-occupancy vehicles to zero-emission mass transit, deploying transportation services to connect more people to work and educational opportunities. 

The acquisition is expected to be completed in May 2022.

“Swvl was founded on the belief that accessible transportation is essential to unlocking economic opportunity,” said Mostafa Kandil, Swvl founder and CEO.

“Swvl and Zeelo share a vision and mission to provide reliable transportation that gets riders where they need to go in an affordable, safe, and environmentally-friendly manner. 

“With an impressive suite of turnkey TaaS and SaaS solutions and an established footprint in the United Kingdom, South Africa, and the United States, Zeelo rapidly advances our leading market position as a provider of technology-enabled mass transit solutions on a global scale.”

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Zeelo modernises daily bus commutes to serve the needs of frontline workers and students through B2B contracts with organisations and family-run bus operator networks. Its system is used by large businesses, staffing agencies, independent schools and universities across the UK, South Africa and the US that need to provide a private travel solution to people living in areas with poor transport links. 

Its services model includes a driving accreditation school, contracted fleets, and proprietary technology including a SaaS platform and multiple customer apps, which leverage smart GPS route optimisation and ride-sharing software.

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Sam Ryan, Zeelo founder and CEO, said: “Swvl is revolutionising the mass transit industry and we are thrilled to join forces with them on this next phase of Zeelo’s journey to firmly establish smart bus transport as the best-in-class shared mobility solution that takes account of all income levels and the needs of ordinary, every-day travellers. 

“Bus transport done well with tech can take us beyond our dependency on cars and taxis which are not suitable for commutes from non-urban areas. We look forward to bringing Swvl insights from Zeelo’s strategic pivot during the global pandemic and we’ve been impressed by Swvl’s fast growth in challenging markets. 

“We are excited to leverage their global experience as we embark on a shared journey to develop safe, affordable, and low emission mass transportation options, and expand economic opportunity for the people who need it most through our mobility solution. 

“Especially shift workers, professionals and students living in transport-poor areas in the developed markets.”