Written by

Zeeshan Hasib Baig

The author is the Chief Executive Officer and Country General Manager of Careem Pakistan.

IT

Leapfrogging Pakistan into the Digital Future in These Changing Times

What started off as a business based on a model of ‘mobility of people’, also widely recognised as ride-hailing, was always destined to enter different verticals.

Earlier this year when the world was faced with an unprecedented pandemic, it impacted global economies. Naturally, Careem’s ride-hailing division was also severely impacted.

However, we soon iterated and launched something which was long due – the region’s first everyday Super App. To put it simply, the Super App is one single, unified smartphone app which caters to people’s daily needs and provides services across mobility of things, mobility of money in addition to mobility of people. 

‘Simplifying and improving lives through regions first Super App’

As of now, approximately 33 million registered Careem customers are benefitting from the Super App. When talking about it from a business perspective, the Super App has numerous services on one single app, naturally improving cross selling, customer stickiness and reducing cost to acquire customers.

It also provides businesses in the region with immediate access to customers, a supply network and a secure, trusted payments system. I am certain that the Super App will drive growth for Careem and accelerate our path to profitability.

From a customers perspective, the Super App will reduce time spent looking for the right App and make it easy for customers to jump between services – all in one place. People generally have a lot of apps on their phones, each of which provides a specific service that requires them to maintain an account (identity, profile, and preferences) and link their digital payment methods – which may or may not be supported.

Furthermore, customers using services that have a financial component also expect a trust and safety system to protect them, which can be a difficult yet detrimental problem domain to take on.

From an efficiency perspective, Super App allows fleet to be utilized for multiple use cases which reduces cost to serve while increasing fleet earnings. Naturally there are synergies when it comes to use cases. For example a ride hail bike captain who is underutilized during lunch or dinner time would now be utilised by food delivery use-case and vice versa.

All of this combined, results in an operating model which is more efficient and financially healthier as compared to offering any stand alone service. Hence, this becomes a natural competitive advantage for Careem. Additionally, we always encourage healthy competition. We believe that the opportunity is still largely unexplored and that more players will only help the industry grow faster.

That being said, there is a bigger opportunity that lies ahead of us. With the infrastructure we have built over the last 8 years with cars, bikes, deliveries and payments, we now have the capability to provide a wider range of services 

Accelerating Digital Payments

Given that Pakistan’s economy heavily relies on cash payments, it is imperative that we come up with innovative solutions to provide digital means of making transactions. To put it down statistically, more than 90 percent of all payments are done via cash whereas only 2 percent of women in Pakistan own a bank account.

It goes without saying that there is a drastic need for these numbers to change if we are to progress financially as a nation by means of various innovations at government and private sector level.

The Careem Super App infrastructure also requires robust payments solutions such as Careem Pay. This is critical to the entire equation since it encourages cash based transactions on the platform to go digital.

This will further act as a catalyst to educate masses on digital literacy in the entire region by providing financial services such as payment of utility bills, online subscription, recharging mobile balance and sending credit to friends and family.

Once we get the license from the regulators, we won’t be limited to just bringing money into the app but also taking it out and transferring it across different verticals. This would also enable us to provide services such as remittances which would be a huge win as most of our captains in the Middle East region are Pakistanis.

This will also enable Careem to add numerous other services on Careem Pay as well as allowing other vendors to use the platform for their services too. 

Empowering local tech ecosystem 

To wrap it up, the Super App is in its truest form, a platform that has the potential to power an entire ecosystem. When opened for third party integrations, the Super App empowers businesses to digitize their services, offer them a robust platform, increase their reach and engagement with pre-validated customers, provides access to supply base, and leveraging battle-tested infrastructure for services such as digital payments, trust & safety, and identity management. 

As a result of the COVID pandemic, digital adoption by Pakistani consumers has undoubtedly accelerated. The Super App will enable access to this new wave of customers while providing local companies and aspiring startups with the building blocks required to efficiently build a digital business at a relatively lower cost. 

Times, they are changing

As a result of the world’s adaptation to Covid-19, the future of work has changed and it seems that working life has entered a new era. 2020 has been the year of transformation. Gone are the days, when colleagues who worked from home had to prove their worth. In this new reality remote work is now the norm.

With the objective of truly leapfrogging Pakistan into the digital future, Careem has recently taken a bold approach and shifted to become a Remote-First company.

Remote-First is about operating from home or any other base within the country colleagues have been hired in, with flexibility and trust. The inspiration is designed towards change and adaptability to be an awesome organization which continues to inspire and leapfrog the region into a digital future.

Discussion

  1. Willing to subscribe Super App., Careem please register and configure the Super App., for Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad. I have Debit Card of EasyPaisa, HBL, MCB.
    Plan use whatever time need will use the transport feasible.
    Please send your proposal.

    Thanks
    Haroon Rashid
    Z-478, Block 3, Bahadurabad, Karachi74800

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