- Largest pre-launch venture funding in UAE history; first UAE venture investment from an Israel-based VC firm
- Launches in UAE with largest fleet of electric vehicles in the region
- Unveils world’s first integrated sanitization pack on every e-scooter for extra COVID-19 protection
- Plans expansion to become first Pan-GCC operator by 2022
Jaideep Dhanoa and IQ Sayed, former Co-founders at Circ and colleagues at Careem, have launched Fenix – a new micromobility venture focused on the Middle East region. The new venture has secured a $3.8m first closing of its seed round investment, which was led by Maniv Mobility, the Israel-based venture fund dedicated exclusively to mobility tech. It marks the first investment by an Israeli venture capital fund in a UAE-based tech startup since the normalization of relations between Israel and the UAE, and the largest pre-launch venture funding round in the history of the UAE tech ecosystem.
Fenix will soon begin operations in Abu Dhabi in compliance with the Emirate’s Integrated Transport Centre (ITC), to be followed by other Emirates and GCC markets in the coming months. The company enters the market with the largest fleet of electric vehicles in the region, purpose-built for continuous shared use.
Jaideep Dhanoa, Co-Founder and CEO of Fenix, says:
“When we started Fenix, we sought the most value-adding investors that could support our mission of unleashing urban potential and propelling communities forward. As a result of the new friendship that has emerged since normalization between the UAE and Israel, we were grateful to meet the team at Maniv Mobility and now benefit from working with some of the most talented and experienced global investors and tech entrepreneurs in the mobility space. It is no secret that Israeli mobility companies have enjoyed global success – Waze and Mobileye are just the tip of the iceberg. We hope this investment is just the start of a cross-pollination of talent, capital and innovation between the nations that can only be an accelerant in the development of a true middle-eastern tech ecosystem that will greatly benefit the region and its people at large.”
Maniv Mobility founder and managing partner, Michael Granoff, added:
“The challenges and opportunities of mobility cross all borders – Maniv now has portfolio companies in six countries. When it comes to finding safe, affordable, and clean ways of moving people around cities, the same solution sets apply to Tel Aviv, London – or Abu Dhabi. We are delighted to be the first Israeli VC to invest in a UAE-based tech company. Maniv Mobility sees huge potential in the GCC region as a new market for micro-mobility and we were incredibly impressed by the team at Fenix and their drive to change the mobility future across the region. At Maniv Mobility, we eat, breathe and sleep mobility, so we are able to support the team as they bring their service to market and rapidly expand across the Middle East.”
The founders bring substantial mobility experience into the new venture – first meeting as senior executives at Careem where Sayed built and scaled the engineering organization, and Dhanoa was responsible for growth and strategy. Dhanoa then joined Grab as the unicorn’s Global Head of Micromobility and Sayed joined Lyft to lead the Autonomous Driving team in Munich. The pair reunited when they joined Circ as Co-Founders to expand micromobility in Europe and create the category in the Middle East as the first licensed operator in the region. The company successfully exited via acquisition in January of 2020. Fenix is the third mobility venture the founders are working on together.
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, micromobility has emerged as the safest form of shared transportation globally. The personal vehicles offer de facto social distancing: no human interaction, reduce load on crowded public transportation systems, and receive natural sanitization from the sun’s UV rays, heat and humidity. Millions of riders and hundreds of cities around the world have turned to and embraced micromobility during the pandemic as a means to safely restart economic activity. With this context and in addition to comprehensive safety measures, Fenix is introducing the world’s first micromobility vehicle with an integrated hand sanitization pack – a simple yet effective innovation that was entirely conceived and implemented locally in the UAE. In addition, all vehicles undergo a deep sanitization while being recharged, before being re-deployed in the city. Every Fenix rider will now have full comfort in knowing that their ride poses no COVID-19 exposure risk.
IQ Sayed, Co-Founder of Fenix, says:
“The birth of Fenix is conjoined with the rebirth of our cities, our societies, and our economies as we transition out of COVID-19 lockdowns. We believe micromobility has an important role to play in navigating an uncertain present to a better tomorrow. We want to transform the way our cities move and ignite impactful commerce by making mobility easier, cheaper, and quite simply redesigned, so we can all reach our potential. Increasing mobility connectivity creates a more productive and inclusive economy and facilitates local commerce in our communities. Our collaboration with Maniv Mobility and this historic seed investment provides the resources and expertise for Fenix to build technology innovations that best service the mobility needs of the people and city partners in our region.”
Fenix’s vehicles are purpose-built for continuous shared use. They put safety first, are sturdier, and are designed to last longer. They have larger wheels, better suspension, longer battery life, the industry’s best braking system, and many other standout features. Every Fenix ride is insured, with personal accident, third-party liability and product liability insurance. Fenix provides clear in-app safety instructions and local guidelines on how to use the vehicles legally and responsibly.
As part of its commitment to operational excellence, Fenix continuously monitors where its vehicles are most needed, rapidly repositioning them in response to consumer demand and municipal authorities’ requirements. Fenix works hard to ensure that its e-scooters are properly parked and is testing incentives for responsible use in and across municipalities. To ensure reliability and maximum availability, Fenix conducts extensive quality control maintenance checks to ensure its fleet of vehicles are safely and reliably available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, all year round.
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