Uber - How This Ride Hailing Giant Made It To The Top!

In the 21st century, every tick-tock of clock counts and in such a scenario even the idea of waiting in queues for buses or autos does not seem good. Uber Technologies, Inc., came up with an idea to make every tick-tock count and enhance the traveling experience. Uber hails from The States and has revolutionized the way people travel. Starting as a huge player in the ride-hailing market, Uber later spanned its way into the food delivery services, micro-mobility system(with bikes and scooters), and peer-to-peer ride system. The company focused on the people's needs of everyday traveling and came out with a solution to providing an efficient, optimum, and hassle-free traveling experience to its customers. Over the years it has gained popularity and has become the one-stop riding solution for the many people. Uber has a huge base of over 110 million worldwide users as of 2019. So, let's binge into knowing this ride giant.

Uber - Company Highlights

Company Name Uber
Headquarter San Francisco ( USA)
Founders Garrett Camp, Oscar Salazar & Travis Kalanick
Sector Transportation
Founded 2009
Parent Organization Uber Technologies, Inc.
Website uber.com

What is Uber
Uber - USP
Uber - Founders & CEO
Uber - History
Uber - Acquisitions
Uber - Business Model
Uber - Funding & Investors
Uber - Challenges
Uber - Growth
Uber - Future Plans


What is Uber

USA based ride hailing company Uber was founded in the year 2009 under the name Ubercab. Uber has been so visible in sharing economy that the post effects of Uber are termed as uberization. Uber's cab services occupied a whopping 67% market share in the United States in 2019. While Uber's food delivery services Uber Eats has a share of 24% in the food delivery sector in 2018 . The first national expansion of Uber Cab came in the year 2011, which lead the entire New York witnessing the presence of Uber. The decade long journey for Uber has seen various milestones of success, fundings, controversies, and expansion and these altogether have made Uber a household term. At present, Uber cabs operates in more than 60 countries and provides you an option to choose from an wide range of options to travel, from economical rides to two wheeler, and sedans to SUVs.

Besides, not just cabs, Uber is experimenting to expand in new fields with its services such as Uber Eats (food delivery) and Uber Freight ( logistics). Again through Uber Advanced Technologies Group, Uber is trying to make new developments in the field of self-driving cars.

Also Read: The Success Story of OLA

Uber - USP

To start with, people don't have to wait for their rides anymore, it's just a one-tap thing now. Also, users get a chance to navigate their journey, and payment is also eased with the facilities of the Uber application. Certain highlights help Uber to grab greater revenues.

1.    A CAR FOR EVERY CHOICE- With segments like Uber X, Uber Black, Uber taxi, and Uber SUV they got a choice for everyone.

2.    PRICE SURGE TECHNOLOGY-The price for the ride varies keeping certain parameters such as demand increase, number of drivers available, number of requests made, etc.

3.    RIDES OTHER THAN CARS- Uber has not limited itself to just cars. They have taken their game a notch higher by adding boats, helicopters as well as some other Vehicles to their List. They have a motorcycle-pickup service (Paris), a delivery service(San Francisco), and an ice-cream truck delivery service too. But, these options are available in selected geographical locations but it has led them to add new streams of revenue into its business model.

Uber - Founders & CEO

Garrett Camp, Oscar Salazar, and Travis Kalanick are the founders of Uber. Dara Khosrowshahi is  currently the CEO of Uber.

Garret Camp is a serial entrepreneur and billionaire who founded several companies like Expa ( a company that helps startup founders in developing and launching new products) and web discovery platform 'StumbleUpon' which later came to be known as 'Mix'.

Travis Kalanick is credited with founding Scour (a peer-to-peer file sharing application) and Red Swoosh (a peer-to-peer content delivery network), before bringing Uber to life. From 2010-2017, Kalanick served as the CEO of Uber. However, in 2017, Kalanick exited Uber owing to certain controversies.

Oscar Salazar, the founding CTO of Uber is the one who created he initial prototypes for Uber’s customer app, driver app and dispatch engine. He was on board with Uber from 2009-2011.

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi initially started as an analyst and later served as CEO of Expedia before joining Uber officially in 2017.

Uber - History

It was in 2008, when Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp were attending a conference in Paris. One night during the conference, the duo was looking for a cab, but they could not find any, which made them realize that finding a ride when needed is quite a hassle and any technology that will ease the process will surely be a hit. However the initial idea was that of a timeshare limo service, where a limousine ( a luxury sedan car) will be owned by many owners on a time-sharing basis.

After Camp came back to San Francisco, he kept contemplating on the idea, and even bought the domain name UberCab.com. Till mid 2009,  Camp along with his friends Oscar Salazar and Conrad Whelan built the very first prototype of UberCab.  Camp then approached Kalanick to join UberCab. In early 2010, UberCab's service was first tested in New York with just 3 cabs. In May 2010, UberCab was officially launched in San Francisco.

Uber - Acquisitions

Till date Uber has made 9 acquisitions -

  • In March 2015, Uber acquired maping startup deCarta.
  • In August 2016, Uber acquired self driving truck startup Otto. Otto is looking after Uber's self drive division.
  • In December 2016, Uber acquired AI startup Geometric Intelligence to do research and improvise its AI technology.
  • App building startup Complex Polygon got acquired by Uber in July 2017.
  • Again in July 2017 itself, Uber acquired social app development startup Swipe Labs.
  • In April 2018, Uber acquired bike share startup Jump Bikes, to help Uber integrate the bike sharing option in Uber App.
  • Uber acquired acquired Careem which was its competitor in Middle East, in March 2019.
  • In June 2019, Uber acquired Mighty AI , in its effort to develop self driving cars.
  • Recently in October 2019, Uber acquired Cornershop, an on-demand grocery delivery service for the Latin American Market.

Uber - Business Model

Uber has a transparent business model. Uber connects passengers who are looking for cabs to cab drivers. While Uber do not have its own cars, Uber drivers use their own cars to provide cab services and pays a percentage of every fare received as commission to Uber.

Uber charges 25% on all fares from its driver partners. However, there are many reports that holds that the company cuts other hidden charges, thus making the commission charged by Uber higher than 25%.

Also Read: 7 Best Revenue Model for Your Startup in 2020

Uber - Funding & Investors

The current valuation of Uber is $69.7 billion. Uber has witnessed a total of 26 funding rounds and has accumulated a total fund of $24.7 billion. The number of lead investors is 20 whereas the total number of investors is 105.  Here are the details Uber's funding rounds so far -

Date Stage Amount Investors
September, 2010 Seed $1.6 Million Alfred Lin, Garret Camp, Jason Calacanis, Lowercase Capital, Naval Ravikant, Founder Colletive, Brian Chesky, Mitchell Kapor, Cyan Banister
February, 2011 Series A $14.1 Million Innovation Endeavours, First Round Capital, Benchmark, Alfred Lin, Lowercase Capital, Founder Collective, Lead Edge Capital, Kees Koolen, Structure Capital
December, 2011 Series B $43.8 Million Goldman Sachs, Menlo Ventures, Bezos Expeditions, Jeff Bezos, Lowercase Capital, Troy Carter, Shawn "Jay-z" Carter, BeSignatures Capital
August, 2013 Series C $364.2 Million GV
June, 2014 Series D $1.4 Billion GV
December, 2014 Series E $ 2.8 Billion Foundation Capital, New Enterprise Associates
May, 2015 Series F $ 1 Billion Microsoft, Bennet Coleman and Co Ltd., AppWorks Ventures, MSA, 408 Ventures
August, 2015 Private Equity $100 Million Tata Capital
December, 2015 Series G $7.3 Billion Public Investment Fund (Saudi Arabia), FotRoss Ventures
February, 2016 Private Equity $200 Million LetterOne
June, 2016 Series G $3.5 Billion Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund
June, 2016 Series G - Aboud Khaddam (Managing Partner, London Impact Ventures
July, 2016 Debt Financing $1.2 Billion Morgan Stanley
April, 2017 Series G - Axel Springer & G Squared
December, 2017 Venture Round $1.3 Billion SoftBank Vision Fund
December, 2017 Secondary Market $7.7 Billion Soft Bank Vision Fund
May, 2018 Secondary Market $600 TPG, Coatue Management,SharesPost Investment Management & Altimeter Capital
August, 2018 Corporate Round $500 Million Toyota Motor Corporation
October, 2018 Debt Finacing $ 2 Billion
April, 2019 Post IPO Equity $500 Million PayPal

Uber - Challenges

Ride hailing apps like Uber has posed a deadly competition for traditional taxi service. Uber has become the obvious choice for many over traditional taxi services owing to the many facilities it provides such as ease in booking and low fares. Thus taxi drivers in different parts of the world has been protesting against Uber and the likes from time to time.

Again, protests have been staged by Uber Drivers in different countries as they are not receiving enough income as promised by the company.

Besides incidents of sexual assault and murder during Uber rides has also been posing a problem for the company from time to time. In its first safety report published by Uber in 2019, it came to light that in 2018, 3,045 sexual assaults, 9 murders and 58 deaths in car crashes happened during Uber rides in the USA itself. In India also there are many incidents where female passengers have reported physical assault during Uber rides, which has been a serious concern for the company. To tackle this Uber has taken steps to check the criminal records of its drivers and is also working towards adding security features in the app.

The ongoing Covid - 19 crisis has also hit the company hard. Uber's ride hailing business dropped by almost 80% during the crisis, which led the company to lay off over 6,700 employees just within a month. While Uber Eats has not suffered the blow that Covid -19 has bought, Uber is also reshuffling some of its divisions and closing 45 offices globally, as revealed by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi.

Also Read: Common Problems Entrepreneurs Face and The Truth About Startup Life

Uber - Growth

As reported in 2020, some major growth milestones achieved by Uber are -

  • Uber is currently operating in over 600 cities, across 65 countries.
  • There are over 3.9 million Uber drivers worldwide.
  • Over 10 billion trips have been completed by Uber worldwide.
  • Each day, over 14 million Uber trips are completed.
  • If we look at the pre-IPO figures, Uber has received investment of $24.7 billion till now.
  •  As of 2018, Uber's valuation was $72 billion.
  • In the fourth quarter of 2019, Uber reported $4.1 billion revenue ( which is 37% more that fourth quarter of 2018)
  • Uber went public on May 9th 2019, and Uber's stock is one of the best performers in NYSE.

Uber - Future Plans

While ride-hailing will remain the core business of Uber for the nearing years , Dara Khosrowshahi sees a potential world outside cars too. They are aiming at adding buses and trains to their vehicles list too. The pilot project as reported has already started in Denver, where people will be able to see bus and train timings via the Uber app and also be able to buy tickets through the app. Uber elevate is another vision the company is having, which is a aerial ride sharing system that Uber is planning to introduce in future. Over all Uber is putting in extra efforts to become true partners of the cities for the long term. With great planning and an awesome team, Uber is surely bound to go places!

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About Chayanika Goswami

  • Assam
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