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Careem - Selling Rides or Selling Tech? Strategic Agility and Scope in a Platform Business

Published 12 Nov 2019
Reference 6546
Region Middle-East
Summary

In 2012, when Careem first started operations in Dubai as a private limousine booking business, it was a tiny start-up working with just US$100,000 of its founders’ savings. Selim Turki is hired (its 18th employee) to develop and market its platform as a ‘white label’ solution for companies’ transport arrangements. The intention is to boost the supply of cars/drivers in Carem’s network, but it does not kindle the interest expected from local companies and proves to be a drain on resources at a time when the main business is challenged by global rivals like Uber. The company has to decide how to allocate its limited resources to compete successfully.

Teaching objectives

The case highlights the issues of resource allocation decisions in a start-up and the need for agility in fast-changing conditions against a backdrop of digital disruption by new technologies and the entry of global competitors. It prompts discussion of the following themes/questions: 1. Strategy: Does distance still matter in digital business? The issue of business model adaptation – from emerging markets to developed/highly competitive markets. 2. Entrepreneurship: Where to allocate scarce technical and capital resources in a fast-growing tech enterprise? 3. OB/leadership: How to manage/lead products/services and internal/external stakeholders

Keywords
  • ride-hailing
  • Uber
  • middle east
  • platform
  • strategic agility
  • start-up
  • minimum viable product
  • white label solution
  • resource allocation
  • Q11920