Uber is seemingly always in the news for something.
Right now the big stories are:
- An Uber-rival from China may be about to land $6 billion in investment from SoftBank.
- Uber wants to make 10% of its Oregon fleet electric by 2019.
- Uber aims for a future of driverless electric cars.
- Long distance haulage may be the next step for Uber’s expansion.
- Italy considers banning Uber in recent court case.
- Lyft capitalizes as Uber’s connection to Trump administration angers progressive voters.
It appears Uber is everywhere.
But how did Uber grow to such a large degree, particularly with laws and governments and embedded markets in their way? How did they end up with a potential valuation of $68 billion?
In this article, we’ll look at three key things:
- Where did Uber come from and what is its philosophy?
- How does Uber conquer a city?
- What steps does Uber take to recruit new drivers?
Uber’s counterculture beginnings
Uber’s cutthroat attitude towards expansion has gained founder Travis Kalanick as much fame as it has notoriety. The car hire app engages in ruthless guerrilla marketing, setting up in new locations at any cost.
Kalanick is a serial entrepreneur with a history of legal trouble. After dropping out of UCLA in 1998, he founded Scour Inc., a peer-to-peer file sharing service that ended up getting him sued for a quarter of a trillion dollars.
After Red Swoosh, another file-sharing failure, Kalanick goes on to found Uber, the ridesharing and car hire app that has been the source of much controversy since its inception in 2009. The accusations that Uber fought a law that could help disabled customers are not even the gravest.
Taking on what Kalanick describes as the ‘taxi cartel’ (the already established car service networks) back in 2009, Uber used ethically questionable business growth strategies to recruit Lyft’s drivers and lobbied governors worldwide to get laws rewritten in their favor.
With a total of $12.9 billion in investment since its launch, a rumored upcoming IPO, and an extremely profitable operation, where does all the money go and why is Uber constantly in need of new investment? Much of it is spent on infiltrating the saturated market using some very ‘interesting’ tactics.
An underground operation to sneak market share
Uber ‘Ambassadors‘ – people employed to offer free rides to get around the law, as well as hire Lyft rides and steal its employees – can get paid $700 for each driver they recruit and come equipped with a supply of burner smartphones at their disposal. New drivers get smartphones if they need them, and you can bet that some amount of that $4 billion went into getting on the government’s good side.
When Uber targets a new city, it founds a new team with a separate entrepreneurial manager overseen by Kalanick, who moves to the city himself to work closely with the team. Until the operation is smoothly underway, Go to the full article.