Engineering a robust and scalable food delivery application
Build and launch of a 1M user app in just 4 months on behalf of a Middle East-based ride-hailing giant recently acquired by Uber
Careem, the market leading ride-hailing service in the Middle East, tasked Nodes to accelerate the launch of their customer facing app and backend infrastructure behind an entirely new digital product line based on restaurant food delivery. Careem NOW was a highly strategic new business line during the subsequent $3.1bn acquisition by Uber, and Nodes was able to reduce time to market from 18 to just 4 months. Careem NOW launched in November 2018 and reached 1M orders less than 12 months later.
Not only was the app launched in a rapid timeframe, the underlying architecture set a new quality and security standard for all future product launches.
orders in less than 12 months
of $’s generated as an additional revenue stream
in multiple markets including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt
architecture allowing for scalable performance and industry-leading AB testing strategy for new features and product lines
Launching a delivery app to beat market-leading competitors
Careem wanted to add the capability to provide delivery services for a range of products as an extension to their ride-hailing service. Careem NOW was initially positioned as a competitor to Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Zomato who were already well-established in the market. Careem faced fierce competition to gain the market share that would see them dominate across the Middle East and North Africa. It was expected that the delivery market in the region would grow to around $25 billion by 2022. Careem approached Nodes to accelerate the launch, build an infrastructure to last and consolidate their position as a technology leader in the Middle East.
A close collaboration ensured a very rapid delivery well ahead of schedule
The short delivery timeline relied on a cutting-edge microservices architecture which would allow for a high performing connection to existing Careem infrastructure without causing any downtime for the ride-hailing services. The complexity of the build and high-pressure deadline required Nodes to locate a team onsite as an extension of Careem’s in-house resources. Both client and partner teams were integrated to form a single unit with a leadership team representing both parties.
This structure allowed for maximum understanding of the existing and new code, a highly collaborative working environment and a base knowledge which allowed the Careem in-house team to continue momentum post launch with multiple iterations.
“Nodes demonstrated their delivery capabilities to the highest level, integrating with our in-house team in a manner which allowed us to maintain full control over the build and launch of a vital new product. The collaboration led to an immense sense of partnership and enabled us to accelerate both the initial and future launches”
– Mittu Sridhara, SVP Technology, Careem
Careem caters to over 33 million customers so this new app, needed to have the robustness and performance to provide a powerful experience to a highly demanding customer base. Not only did the solution have to compete with established competitors, Careem NOW had to seamlessly integrate and mimic the quality and reliability expected of the existing portfolio of Careem services including ride-hailing, digital payment and loyalty programme. Key features include:
GPS-tracking and mapping
Built-in mapping capabilities enables users to track the order from preparation to delivery, in real time
Integrated with Careem’s existing payment solution, users can checkout easily
Single sign-up for existing Careem users
Customers will be able to log in with their Careem credentials, and their registered credit card will be automatically linked
An integrated partnership was crucial for the succes
“Working with such an influential brand as Careem was a huge honour for our team. The integrated partnership allowed for a two-way transfer of knowledge and expertise, which led to the Careem Now team being fully self-sufficient on the moment of launch. The incredible success of the app is testament to that.”
Casper Rasmussen, CTO & Partner, Nodes
Careem operates in 14 countries and 100+ cities, mostly in the Middle East. They have approximately 33 million customers and 1.2 million ‘Captains’ In 2019, Uber acquired Careem for ＄3.1 billion, the region’s largest tech buyout in history. Careem has recently diversified from its ride-hailing roots to provide delivery services, bike sharing, electric scooters and digital payments. Over the coming years, they are expected to launch the region’s first Super App similar to WeChat and Grab.
Strong partnership established with future developments
In addition to the customer-facing portion of the solution, Nodes also partnered with Careem to revamp their Merchant platform. Starting in October 2018, the integrated team worked on building the entire front-end for the merchants, customer service agents, account managers and admins for the Careem NOW platform.