German carmaker Daimler has added a stake in Middle Eastern ridesharing brand Careem to its ever-growing portfolio of mobility businesses.
"Mobility" is emerging as the shorthand of choice for the ride-sharing/carpooling/taxi-app sector.
Daimler's undisclosed investment in Careem is part of the now-closed Series E round. Japan's Rakuten was among the investors which pumped $350 million into Careem towards the end of 2016.
Klaus Entenmann, CEO for Daimler Financial Services said:
“With our investment in Careem, we are now taking the strategic step to becoming the world’s leading provider of mobility services."
Most carmakers of note are investing in the mobility sector, perhaps as a way to potentially offset the damage that sharing vehicles via tech-enabled platforms is doing to their core business.
A recent survey from CapGemini found that one in three buyers in eight big car markets - Brazil, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, UK and the US - see ride-sharing apps as a genuine alternative to car ownership.
Daimler has a bigger presence across the mobility space than most other manufacturers. It has invested in chauffer-driver service Blacklane, has a majority stake in Europe's biggest taxi app MyTaxi and wholly owns free-floating car sharing market leader Car2go.
It was an early investor in the sector, investing a reported $10 million in CarPooling.com in 2012, which was later acquired by BlaBlaCar.