Yesterday TechCrunch reported that Snapp, Iran’s leading Uber clone in Iran, has raised $22M which surprised many individuals inside the country, but as it turns out the $22M was raised for Iran Internet Group, Snapp’s parent company.
Snapp was launched in late 2014 with the name Taxi Yab then the name was changed due to legal issues to Snapp. To give you a glimpse of Iran’s transportation market, there are 27M registered cars in the country with 80K official taxis in Tehran. Plus 80K private drivers and 200K freelance, unofficial taxis which work side by side with official ones in Tehran. According to Shahram Shahkar, the CEO of Snapp, right now Snapp has 10K drivers and 500K users which are good numbers for the time being.
We shouldn’t forget about Tap30, the other Uber clone in the country. Tap30 launched its platform recently and they are getting traction because of their cheaper and region based pricing. There is another angle to this story as well which makes the competition more interesting, Snapp’s first founder and managing director is the co-founder of Tap30. So Tap30 has a deep experience in this sector since they were also the ones who started Uberification in Iran.
Getting back to Snapp, the actual and correct news about this raise is that MTN has invested another $22M into Snapp’s parent company, the Iran Internet Group, in a move that will further accelerate the growth of all of its companies in Iran. “This funding will enable us to grow further in the country and to make this amazing service accessible to all Iranians. We as the first and leading e-haling app that is developed completely in-house by Iranian talent, are proud of all we have achieved so far and look forward to consolidating our position as market leader with the continued strong support of MTN,” said Shahram Shahkar, CEO of Snapp.
Talking about MTN and its relationship with Rocket Internet and their joint venture in the region, Middle East Internet Holding (MEIH), there is no proof or disproof of Rocket Internet presence in Iran directly or indirectly but the companies that MTN invested in Iran are using some of Rocket Internet services such as in HR. “We have been watching Snapp closely since its launch, and have been continually impressed with the strength of their team. In a very short time, they have dominated the Iranian car-hailing market and we look forward to continuing our successful partnership,” said MTN MENA Vice President Ismail Jaroudi.
*The MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. MTN is also a major shareholder in Irancell and Iran Internet Holdings.