Egyptian startup Wasel is building out an online platform that allows users to easily book shared or private vehicle transfers between cities.
Launched in March 2018, Wasel is an inter-city travel tech startup that allows the listing and booking of private and shared rides been Egyptian governorates and cities. The startup has a flat rate pricing model, and says it provides safe and affordable transportation options where they have previously been lacking.
It all began when founder and chief executive officer (CEO) Ahmed El-Rawy, while working in Upper Egypt, posted on social media canvassing opinions on a possible carpooling service between Cairo and Minya. After receiving very positive feedback, he had a simple online version of such a platform developed, and made it available to tenants at the Cloud co-working space for their views.
“In the first three hours, we received more than 300 ride requests and more than 50 driver registrations,” he told Disrupt Africa. “The next week, we developed the website, and within a month Wasel launched as the first inter-city travel startup in Upper Egypt.”
The startup now 13 routes between Cairo, Beni Suef, Minya and Assuit, and has transported more than 3,000 passengers. It also offers shipping options, and El-Rawy believes it is tapping into a major market – hundreds of thousands of Egyptians travel between cities on a daily basis, restricted to the schedules of train and bus services.
“Most of them suffer from many problems, like the timing of the train not being suitable or being delayed, besides the challenges of getting a ticket,” he said.
“With Wasel you can book your seat in an air-conditioned and comfortable car to travel to any place between two cities in an easy way and at a convenient price.”
The startup took part in the Flat6Labs Cairo accelerator programmes last year, securing some seed funding as a result, and was also the recipient of a grant from the UK Embassy in Egypt. El-Rawy said its immediate plan was expansion within Egypt.
“Our goal is to open new lines, serving tourism – lines from Upper Egypt to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada to serve the employees. And lines between many of unserved Upper Egypt governorates, such as between Qena and Sohag and Assiut,” he said, adding that Wasel also planned on expanding its drivers base to more than 1,000.