Photograph — Startup Scene

There seems to be no limit when it comes to innovation in mobility solutions, particularly in Egypt where new digital-based transport solutions continue to spring up. Egypt is already home to ride-hailing services like Uber and Careem, then mass-transport startups like SWVL, which Uber and Careem mimicked by launching Uber Bus and Careem Bus. There’s also Halan, Egypt’s first motorcycle and tricycle ride-hailing service created to serve underserved populations. And now, Slyd, the first electric scooter ridesharing platform in Egypt and the Middle East.

Slyd was created for quick short distance trips under five kilometres. “As the increasing fuel and oil costs eat away from trip fare margins, it’s become clear that the car needs to be replaced with a more convenient vehicle,” Alaa Shalaby, CEO and Co-founder of Slyd told Startup Scene. Users are charged for renting the scooters which are found in strategic locations where people have to walk long distances. To rent this, users unlock scooters using a QR code from the service’s application – SlydApp. After use, scooters are dropped off at the nearest scooter station to one’s destination.

Before Slyd, Shalaby was operations manager and market launcher for new services at Careem where he helped launch Careem food delivery, Careem Bike and Careem Bus. It was while working on the launch of Careem Bus he realised that people needed a first and last mile solution to shorten trips to bus stops. “As I was working on the ‘Careem Bus’ project, I found a gap. If people wanted to leave their cars at home and use mass transportation, private or public, they are extremely hindered because there are no first and last stop solutions,” he told Egyptian Streets.

Besides being created to solve first and last mile problems, Slyd also tackles air pollution as it is eco-friendly.

Shalaby travelled to China and Singapore to learn more about micro-mobility solutions and how these countries have adopted these sort of services. Then he returned to Egypt to launch Slyd with his partner, Mohamed Hamza who is the company’s CTO. Initially, Slyd launched operations on university campuses, providing electric scooters to students to help them quickly cover trips within their vast campuses. But now the startup has launched its services in business complexes, estates and coastal towns with plans to expand to districts in need of short distance mobility across greater Cairo in the future.

To improve Slyd’s accessibility, Shalaby and Hamza have built a seamless cash payment system to overcome the poor credit card penetration rate in Egypt. This will make it easier for more people to use the service that is typically dependent on cashless payments. They have also developed superior operational solutions to ensure Slyd scooters are strategically at locations where they are most needed.

Hamza told Startup Scene that they have also created an advanced anti-theft system. “We’ve built smart -locking and unlocking software for our vehicles, to reduce vehicle theft and vandalism,” he said. He and his technical team are designing Slyd to enable it to operate in cities like Cairo and Alexandria, and for it to have the ability to scale into cities with better infrastructure. As with most Egyptian startups, the goal is to expand to the Middle East in the near future.

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