Careem, a regional rival to Uber, has been testing out food delivery services since February. Sheikha said his aim was to place the firm as the go-to internet services platform for people in the Middle East.
Soon “when you open the app, you’ll see the option to get from point A to point B and to order your food, order your groceries, pay other people you might be transacting with,” he said.
Before making the leap into the taxi app, Sheikha and Careem’s other founder Magnus Olsson, both worked at U.S. consultancy McKinsey & Company.
The former management consultant said the Middle East consumer is ready to transition into online spending.
“Our estimate is that by 2030, $36 billion (consumer spend) will become $540 billion, so there is at least half a trillion dollars of spend that’ll move from offline to the online world,” he said.
The co-founder added that a public listing of Careem was a “natural milestone” but there was a lot more expansion to take of advantage of first.
—Correction: This report has been updated to accurately reflect Mudassir Sheikha’s statements on investment from Saudi Arabia.