Iran's Uber Hits 2 Million Rides-a-Day Amid Growth Spurt

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(Bloomberg) -- Snapp, also known as the Uber of Iran, said its ride-hailing app is generating two million fares a day as young people in Tehran embrace technology in a market that’s off-limits for western investors.

“Snapp Tehran is now larger than any Uber city globally," co-Founder Eyad Alkassar said in a statement. “Reaching this milestone in only three years makes Snapp one of the fastest-growing internet companies in the world.”

The Middle East has been grabbing the attention of international investors in the past two years, with the largest-ever tech deal in the region struck last week as ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. agreed to buy its regional competitor Careem Networks FZ for $3.1 billion. The Middle East and North Africa has seen up to a 50 percent increase in funding year-on-year in startups since 2015, according to Magnitt, a regional data platform for startups.

Iran, home to more than 80 million people, remains out of reach to U.S. and European investors after President Donald Trump reimposed sanctions in November, forcing Western companies out and hitting Iran’s oil exports and economy.

That’s opened up opportunities for global players from elsewhere.

Backed by South African telecommunication provider MTN Group, Snapp -- one of the two major ride-hails apps currently in Iran -- operates in 34 cities across the country and partners with 1.5 million drivers. It’s also one of the top five car ride-hailing companies globally, it said in the statement.

Snapp Group, has grown its business into other services, including food and grocery delivery and a travel booking app.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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