From Dubai, we have seen the growth of Careem which was bought for more than 3Billion USD by Uber. Sharing services of ‘Gig’ economy is picking up pace with Swvl from Egypt raising another USD 42 Million USD round.
Having lived in this region, my biggest headache has been buying, selling, renting or leasing real estate. This needs significant disruption not only in Dubai but also elsewhere in the world. Just in Dubai broker commissions were in excess of 1 Billion AED or 300 Million USD. So not only the market is significant but the service satisfaction level of buyers/tenants/sellers and landlords is very low.
When Careem started, Dubai Taxi revenue (in 2015) was AED1.4 Billion AED, a number amazingly similar to the current revenue of brokers of Dubai.
Airbnb has already proven that technology as well as trust can be built to let strangers into your home. Whether using a key combination lock at the door or a QR scan with electronic locking mechanism.
Dubizzle, PropertyFinder and Bayut are platforms that are already controlling most of the leads to the brokers in United Arab Emirates and wider GCC region. When was the last time you went to a brokers website ? Probably, never.
The initial investment to pull this idea will be quite heavy but we believe that this market is ripe for disruption and someone should acton this potentially 3B USD (Careem exit valuation) opportunity before one of the incumbents or someone from outside of the region takes the credit.
Centric is a digital transformation agency with strategic insight in the Middle East market; providing services to clients across the full spectrum of digital. From strategy to execution to marketing and brand building.
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