Displaying items by tag: Uber

SoftBank loses $16bn following Uber IPO

Written on Wednesday, 15 May 2019 09:39

The market value of SoftBank Group, Uber’s biggest stakeholder, has decreased by $16 billion following Uber’s disappointing initial public offering.

Published in Finance

Global ride-hailing firm Uber has projected a more measured valuation ahead of its IPO debut on the New York Stock Exchange later this week.

Published in Finance

Uber’s growth slows as it prepares for IPO

Written on Sunday, 17 February 2019 13:37

US ride-hailing colossus Uber disclosed its financial earnings for the final quarter of 2018 which showed its revenue growth has slowed ahead of its much anticipated stock market debut.

The financial figures released by Uber indicated that for the final three months of the year its loss amounted to $865 million, compared with $1.1 billion in the same period a year earlier.

The San Francisco-based firm reported revenue of $3 billion, which represented a 25 percent increase from a year earlier. Uber remains a private company, but routinely discloses some earnings information.

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has managed to guide Uber through choppy waters since assuming the CEO role from Travis Kalanick.

He is also being tasked with the responsibility of steering the high-value startup to a stock market debut this year, and has promised greater transparency as he seeks to restore confidence in the global ridesharing leader that has been hit by a wave of misconduct scandals and has become embroiled in a series of legal battles regarding its services, particularly in Europe.

Revenue for the full year rose 43 percent to $11.3 billion, with Uber's annual loss shrinking 15 percent to $1.8 billion, according to an official statement from the startup.

Uber operates its’ rideshare business in dozens of countries and has expanded to new areas including food delivery, electric scooters and bikes. The company is recognized as the largest of the venture-backed startups with a presumed valuation of some $70 billion.

Uber CFO Nelson Chai expressed his satisfaction with Uber’s financial results and said, “Last year was our strongest yet, and Q4 set another record for engagement on our platform. Our ridesharing business maintained category leadership in all regions we serve, Uber Freight gained exciting traction in the US, JUMP e-bikes and e-scooters are on the road in over a dozen cities."

Based on gross bookings, Uber Eats has apparently become the largest online food delivery business outside of China.

Published in Apps

Uber’s new CEO has jetted into London for negotiations with the city’s transport regulator following the TFL’s (Transport for London) decision to suspend the license of the global ride-hailing service. The TFL deemed Uber unfit to run a taxi service and refused to renew its license.

The decision by the TFL left Uber reeling, as the UK, and in particular London is a massive market for the US firm. It was the latest setback in a long line of controversies and blows endured by Uber who have in recent months had allegations of sexual harassment within its work environment labelled at them.

In addition to this, Uber has faced countless legal battles in different markets all over the world – and pressure from stakeholders forced former CEO and founder Travis Kalanick to resign. TFL stated that it didn’t renew Uber’s license due to the firm’s approach to reporting serious criminal offences – and also highlighted safety issues in relation to Uber’s vetting process on its drivers.

London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is also chairman of the TFL, told Uber that it would serve the organization better to actually attempt to address the concerns raised by the transport regulator, instead of hiring a team of PR experts and lawyers.

However, it has emerged that Uber’s new CEO, former Expedia boss Dara Khosrowshahi has arranged a face-to-face meeting with TFL commissioner Mike Brown who is tasked with the responsibility of running TFL’s day-to-day operations. It was further disclosed that Khan, a member of the Labor Party had sanctioned the meeting.

While Uber’s license was suspended with immediate effect on September 30th, its 40,000 drivers can still pick up fares until an appeal process has been exhausted, and that is likely to take up to several months.

Uber’s CEO facing a tough task to restore order to a firm which has been battered by a host of controversies, and his job hasn’t been helped by the calling of a board meeting in San Francisco which will look at curbing the influence of former CEO Kalanick.

Many expect Uber to resolve the issue with the TFL and claimed that Khosrowshahi made a good start by penning an open letter to Londoners in which he acknowledged that the company had made mistakes, before vowing to adopt a new approach to penetrate new markets globally.

It has been reported that Uber will learn its fate when a judge will rule on its appeal when it is officially submitted on October 13th. Uber’s competitors have wasted no time in attempting to gain its business. London’s second-biggest private hire firm Addison Lee said on Friday it was planning to increase its driver numbers in London by up to a quarter.

Published in Apps

Uber vows to stop using diesel cars in London by 2019

Written on Sunday, 17 September 2017 11:45

Global ride-hailing incumbent Uber has announced that it will cease using diesel cars in London by the end of 2019. City officials in the English capital are aggressively pursuing initiatives and programs aimed at reducing the number of diesel vehicles being driven in and around the city, with London recording alarming levels of pollution.

Uber have shown their support for this movement by vowing that they will be using no diesel cars for their services by 2019, with a spokesman for the firm claiming that by that stage the vast majority of rides will be in either hybrid or electric vehicles.

Uber says currently almost half of its fleet that embark on journeys in London are undertaken in greener vehicles on the company’s standard low-cost Uber-X service, which enables users to book their journeys on their smartphone device.

A number of leading car manufacturers has announced plans to electrify a large proportion of their new cars. The most notably automaker was Swedish giants Volvo, who earlier this year became the first manufacturer to set a date on when it was phasing out vehicles powered solely by the internal combustion engine.

The UK has followed the lead of France and cities such as Mexico City, Athens and Madrid by declaring that it will prohibit the sale of new petrol and diesel cars from 2040. Uber, which has around 40,000 drivers based in London, has indicated that they will only offer hybrid or electric vehicles on Uber-X by the turn of the decade – but plans to roll-out the program on a nationwide basis by 2022.

Uber’s Head of UK Cities, Fred Jones said Uber shared the concerns expressed by city officials in London in relation to growing problem of air pollution, and said the US-based ride-hailing service was keen to its part.

Jones said: “Air pollution is a growing problem and we’re determined to play our part in tackling it with this bold plan. Londoners already know many cars on our app are hybrids, but we want to go much further and go all electric in the capital.

Uber has endured a difficult number of months with the firm being at the center of a number of salacious scandals ranging from sexual harassment to allegation of bullying, investor pressure eventually led to controversial and high-profile resignation of Uber co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick.

However, Uber has also faced stinging criticism in London, and has been locked in legal rows with trade unions, lawmakers and traditional black cab drivers over working conditions and the legality of its operations. It has also been reported that Uber intend to appeal a decision by a British judge which ruled that the tech company should treat two of its drivers as employees and pay them the minimum wage and holiday pay.

In addition to this, Uber is also waiting on the decision by the capital’s transport regulator who will determine later this month how much the ride-hailing app will need to pay in order to renew its new license.

In Uber’s statement in relation to its phasing out of diesel cars, it also announced its plan to help drivers switch from diesel cars to greener cars with a £150 million-pound fund, which would pay up to 5,000 pounds per upgrade from a petrol or diesel vehicle. Uber will generate the funds for this initiative by taxing an each fare with an additional 35p in London.

Published in Apps

An Estonian taxi startup company has announced its bold ambition to take on global ride-hailing colossus Uber in both London and Paris. Taxify announced that it will initially launch its services in London after it signed up 3,000 private hire taxi drivers following an intensive recruitment process which was needed to meet UK licensing and regulatory requirements.

Its expansion into the UK serves to indicate that Taxify is confident it can replicate the success it has enjoyed in other markets. The Estonian company have already benefited from the uncertainty and scandal that has plagued Uber in the last six months - by stealing a march on them in Eastern Europe and Africa.

London is a saturated market when it comes to taxi services. The English capital is home to the world-famous black cabs and private hire firm Addison Lee, who compete with other ride-hailing apps such as GETT and HAILO, which is now incorporated in Daimler’s MyTaxi.

Uber has a large slice of the market share in London, it boasts over 40,000 drivers and has 3 million London users, with the Silicon Valley based company claiming that users make over 1 million trips a week.

Taxify operates in 25 countries which is in stark contrast to that of Uber, who rollout its services in 600 cities across the world. However, its USP is that it allows passengers to pay marked-down fares which in turn lets drivers retain a bigger share of the profits, whilst it’s run on a much lower cost business model that Uber.

Taxify is directly targeting Uber’s customer base by offering a 15% commission on rides booked through the online platform. Uber charges between 20-25% in London. In addition to this, Taxify will accept cash as well as electronic payments unlike Uber.

The CEO and founder of the Estonian startup Markus Villig insisted its policy is that it will always be cheaper than Uber. Uber has just appointed a new CEO in order to bring much needed stability to the organization. It has endured a hugely difficult year, it has been embroiled in sexual harassment cases, legal disputes over the legality of the services it provides, and co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced to resign as CEO.

Uber’s new boss is former Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and he has vowed to take the company public in the next few years, and said the company had to change in order for it to continue to expand. Taxify has enjoyed incredible success since its inception and will be confident it can penetrate the UK market.

It’s based in the Baltics and it first staked out in major cities all across Eastern and Central Europe, before expanding operations in Africa. Its CEO has declared that he believes they will overtake Uber by the end of this year. The taxi company has been boosted by investment from China’s rife-hailing firm Chuxing DiDi and aim to expand into Paris before the end of 2017.

Published in Apps

Uber’s newly-appointed CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has vowed to take the global ride-hailing firm public within the next three years. His appointment as CEO comes after months of unsettlement within the organization following the high-profile resignation of outgoing CEO Travis Kalanick.

Uber has been embroiled in a number of controversies and scandals that range from sexual harassment claims to engaging in illegal taxi operations. However, the new CEO who is the former head of travel website giants Expedia has declared the company ‘has to change’ in order for it to continue to grow its business and move past the issues it has encountered.

The incoming CEO is expected to take the helm at Uber next week. Reports circulating from his meeting with Uber staff in San Francisco last week are claiming that Khosrowshahi is focusing on regaining market share from its main competitor Lyft.

He has reportedly vowed to employees and stakeholders that he will take the company public in the next 18-36 months, but details on a potential IPO remain scarce. However, financial analysts have said that an Uber listing on the stock exchange would likely make it one of the biggest technology IPOs of the last decade.

Uber is the world’s most valuable private company, and is valued at $68.5 billion, and many commentators feel that its time the global ride-hailing firm went public as it could in many ways be held more accountable for the scandals that has marred the organization in the last number of years. However, Uber declined to comment when queried on a potential timeframe for the IPO.

Uber was left red faced when a leaked audio recording of his speech to staff was published by Yahoo. A fired-up Khosrowshahi told disclosed to staff how he landed the top job at Uber and outlined what workers can expect from him. He conceded in the audio recording that the company was in a battle, but insisted he would fight ferociously for all staff.

Khosrowshahi said, "I'm not going to bullshit you, and I will ask you not to bullshit me. We're in a battle here. I think everybody knows it. I'm here, I made the decision, I am all in, and I'm going to fight for you with every bone in my body."

The former Expedia boss said he was convinced by Spotify founder Daniel Ek to apply for the top job after initially telling a headhunter he wasn’t interested in the job. He also disclosed that he met with every Uber board member during an intensive interview process – and in addition to this, he also revealed how Uber co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick who is still a board member of the ride-hailing company persuaded him to leave his role at Expedia and become the new CEO at Uber.

The new Uber CEO said of his meeting with Kalanick, "He spun this web, this dream, of transforming cities and the transportation grid and deliveries and robots taking food from the street corner to the home. And it's just this incredible vision. And I'm like, 'Well, I sell airline tickets and you can download them onto your phone.”

Published in Apps

US cities Seattle and Portland are set to get ‘smarter’ following the launch of a free app which allows users to search for on-demand rides. It will be formally introduced after the completion of a successful three-month test period.

The application which is entitled Migo, is basically a search engine that allows users to search, compare and hail multiple type of ride-hailing transportation like Uber, Lyft, Car2Go and Seattle Yellow Cab, without engaging in the time consuming process of jumping from one application to the other.

The Migo ‘free app’ display real-time data to users and estimates their wait and walk time, whilst in addition to this the applications enables you to search, hail and book a ride service all from within the application.

The new service which is being launched in Seattle and Portland first will be initially only available on the iPhone, but a spokesman for Migo has confirmed that it will be quickly expanding to additional markets such as Android. Seattle and Portland have been identified as ‘key’ cities for the launch of Migo because of their role in the White House Smart Cities Initiative, which was launched in 2015. The program was specifically designed to accelerate the delivery of smart city solutions which includes eco-friendly transportation options that best leverage the cities resources and infrastructure.

The CEO and founder of Migo, Jeff Warren claimed that both cities were the ideal locations to engage in testing on innovative transportation services such as its free application.

Warren said: "Seattle and Portland are hotbeds for testing new transportation services and models, like car-share, ride-share, carpooling, bikes and taxi services. Migo was designed to help residents first discover and then easily choose their best ride option – whether that means closest, cheapest, most environmentally friendly or simply the coolest option to get from place to place. And with the rapidly expanding populations of both Seattle and Portland, we see Migo as a key partner to help keep the cities moving."

Published in Apps

Uber reports bookings increase and revenue jump

Written on Sunday, 03 September 2017 06:00

Uber reported an increase in bookings and revenue jump on August 23. The California-based ride-sharing company reduced its losses by 14 percent in Q2 compared to the same period the previous year. The company posted a net loss of $645 million on revenue of $1.75 billion, compared to revenue of $800 million the same period last year.  

Global trips increased 150 percent from the previous year, the company said, while gross bookings reached $8.7 billion, up 17 percent which is twice the amount of bookings for the same period in 2016. The company said it had $6.6 billion on hand at the end of Q2, down from $7.1 billion at the end of Q1.

Internally, Uber’s stability has been rocked by the sensational resignation former chief executive, Travis Kalanick. The co-founder stepped down in late June under increased pressure from investors who raised concerns about his leadership. A growing momentum of voices demanded changes at the helm, and it was the call from investors that ultimately forced Kalanick to concede that his position was untenable. 

Uber also stiff competition abroad - the need to keep both drivers and customers satisfied has driven up expenses for the company. Cuts are being made to Uber’s US car-leasing business, for instance, amid costs that were thousands of dollars more than expected for each vehicle.

In July, Uber and Russian search engine company Yandex agreed to combine their ride-hailing services to create a joint entity in Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia and Kazakhstan. The combined company, controlled by Yandex, will be valued at $3.725 billion, with both Uber and Yandex investing hundreds of millions of dollars, CNBC reported.

Published in Apps

Ride-sharing app service Uber has responded to a one-month ban in the Philippines by appealing to authorities on August 15. The company resumed services as it waited for a decision, Reuters reported. The suspension is one of many issues the Californian firm has faced recently, including controversy surrounding its former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Uber’s services in the Philippines were halted on August 14 by the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) because the company ignored an order to stop accepting new driver applications. Despite the ban, Uber maintains a strong following in the country. Citizens lashed out at authorities on social media calling for Uber to continue its services.

The Philippines lacks in areas of reliable and competitive public transport, hence Uber’s popularity on the island nation. The company said it had the right to due process in its appeal to the LTFRB, and wanted a stay of implementation of the suspension.

Uber posted on Facebook, “This means that Uber’s operations will continue until the motion is resolved.” It added: “Over the course of this morning, tens of thousands of riders were left stranded, causing needless inconvenience, while drivers were unable to access the earning opportunities they rely on.”

Uber, one of the world’s most affluent startups valued at upwards of $60 billion, has faced a number of controversies over the past year. Taiwan banned the service for two months at the beginning of 2017, and Uber was only granted permission to continue serving the capital city Taipei by using licensed commercial drivers, rather than its usual private drivers.

A statement on Uber’s website in April it said would now be “partnering with licensed rental car companies to resume serving riders in Taipei… after constructive talks with transportation authorities.” Uber Taiwan’s General Manager, Likai Gu, said the company wants to “partner with more legal transportation service partners in weeks and months to come.”

Uber’s controversy in Taiwan began in 2016 after authorities claimed it was operating unlawfully. Taxi companies are legally required to be domestically owned and operated under Taiwanese law. The company was then forced to suspend its services, after police spent months cracking down on Uber drivers in Taipei.

In the Philippines, the LTFRB stopped accepting and processing applications for all ride-sharing services in 2016, including Uber, to study further how to regulate the industry. Controversy ignited when Uber admitted it was still accepting new driver applications because of strong demand, despite not processing them.

LTFRB responded by suspending Uber’s services, due to the “irresponsible” behavior of Uber in “unduly challenging the limit of fair regulation” by ignoring the LTFRB’s instructions and continuing to accept driver applications.

In Uber’s defense, Grace Poe, a senator and strong advocate for improving transport services in the Philippines, said the LTFRB’s suspension of Uber was “cruel and absurd.” She claimed that suspending the service “further exacerbates the problem of having an utter lack of safe, reliable and convenient transportation options” for the people of the Philippines.

Uber also faced backlash in Europe recently, when Madrid authorities in Spain asked the anti-trust watchdog to investigate whether the company’s new cheap airport transfer service had broken competition rules.

The competition regulator, CNMC, called for the government to lift a ban on Uber last year. But Uber’s new airport service reignited scrutiny, since it offers a tariff of 15-19 euros for a ride between Madrid’s Barajas international airport and the city center, which is cheaper than the standard fixed taxi rate of 30 euros. 

“[Uber Airport] could violate several articles of the Law of Unfair Competition and consumer rights, if it is proven that the service is being operated at prices below operational costs with the sole intention of gaining customers through unfair competition,” said the Madrid City Council in a statement.

In Spain, taxi drivers have gone on strike three times this year, according to reports, arguing that ride-hailing apps like Uber, which are regulated under VTC licenses (an authorization to rent vehicles with driver), often used for private chauffer services, constitute unfair competition because they do not meet the current regulations and pay less tax than taxi services. 

There are currently more than 2,000 VTC-licensed taxis in Madrid, the only Spanish city where Uber is currently active, and about 15,000 traditional taxis, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Works. The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Uber should be defined as a transport service rather than an app.

Internally, Uber’s stability has been rocked by the sensational resignation former chief executive, Travis Kalanick. The co-founder stepped down in late June under increased pressure from investors who raised concerns about his leadership. A growing momentum of voices demanded changes at the helm, and it was the call from investors that ultimately forced Kalanick to concede that his position was untenable. 

One of Uber’s early investors, venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, has accused Kalanick of conspiring to return to his role as CEO. The firm gave Uber and Kalanick a month to review its recommendations on August 14 before filing a lawsuit the week before to force Kalanick off the company’s board and remove the ability for him to return, Reuters said. Kalanick fired back in defense claiming he’s working with the board to place a new chief executive.

“I am disappointed and baffled by Benchmark's hostile actions, which clearly are not in the best interests of Uber and its employees on whose behalf they claim to be acting,” Kalanick said in a statement.

Benchmark Capital, which owns 13 percent of Uber and controls 20 percent of the voting power, claimed in the lawsuit, “Indeed, it has appeared at times as if the search [for a new CEO] was being manipulated to deter candidates and create a power vacuum in which Travis could return.”

Founded in 2009, Uber has been a pioneer in the sharing economy. But the company has also been the subject of various protests and legal actions, and was even subject to an investigation of a former employee accused of engaging in sexual harassment. Some analysts claim the organization embodies many of co-founder Kalanick’s pugnacious personality traits. 

Published in Featured
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