Uber is a venture-funded startup and transportation network company based in San Fransisco, California, that makes mobile apps that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services. The company arranges pickups in dozens of cities around the world.
Uber drivers had cars such as Lincoln Town Cars, Cadillac Escalades, BMW 7 Series and Mercedes-Benz S550 sendans. After 2012, Uber added a wider selection of cars to market to a broader cross-section of the market, called UberX.
Cars are reserved by sending a text message or by using a mobile app. Using the Apps, customers can track their reserved car`s location. The company has not released the names of its investors, but it has been widely reported that Fidelity Investments leads the investment.
Uber is probably the biggest Taxi-killer in history. Three days ago, in a concerted action, taxis blocked roads in major European cities in protest against what they perceive as a threat to their livelihood by companies such as Uber.
The cabbies contended that Uber and similar smartphone app-based services have an unfair advantage because they`re not subjected to the same kinds of fees and regulations placed on taxi’s. Uber is controversial.
Uber`s pricing is similar to metered taxis although all hiring and payment is handled exclusively through Uber and not with the driver personally. If the Uber car is travelling at a speed greater than 11 mph, the price is calculated on a distance bases.
Otherwise, the price is calculated on a time basis. At the end of a ride, the complete fare is automatically billed to the customer’s credit card. Uber has said that its high prices are the premium that the customers pay for a cab service that is not only reliable but also punctual and comfortable.
During holiday times, Uber increases its prices to «surge price» levels to reach an economic equilibrium by attracting more drivers. During New Year`s Eve 2011, prices were as high as seven times normal rates, causing outrage in response.
Uber was founded as UberCab by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick in 2009. One year later they received venture funding from a group of super angel investors in Silicon Valley, California, including Chris Sacca.
In 2011, Uber raised more than $11,5M in Series A funding led by Benchmark Capital. In later 2011, Uber further raised $32 million in funding from several investors that include Goldman Sachs, Menlo Ventures and Bezos Expeditions bringing their total funding amount to $49,5M.
The company entered the London market in July 2012 with an initial staff of about 90 drivers of Mercedes, BMW and Jaguar. One week ago, Uber announced $1,2 billion in funding in its latest round. The round values Uber at around $17 billion pre-money.
Several drivers have credited Uber for increasing their potential earnings by 30%. The company faces competition from lower-cost real-time ridesharing startups such as Lyft and SideCar. To compete at lower price levels, Uber has introduced UberTaxi (partnerships with local taxi commissions) and UberX (non-luxury cars such as Toyota Prius Hybrids).
Last month, London black-cab drivers, members of the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association, threatened to disrupt traffic in June if Transport for London (TfL) refuses to ban Uber in London. The New York City Taxi and Limousine Commissions has discouraged drivers from participation in Uber, resulting in suspension of Uber`s New York taxi service in October 2012.
Uber has been accused in several jurisdictions of illegal taxicab operation. It`s understandable that they changed their name from UberCab to Uber. Following a social media campaign by Uber`s users, the D.C City Council voted to formally legalize Uber`s service, with no minimum fare.
They have more competitors to come. China`s biggest taxi app is Didi and they books over 5 million rides a day! The company which is registered in the Cayman Islands, will do an IPO in three to five years in the U.S. Didi`s app is backed by Asia`s largest Internet company Tencent Holdings Ltd and their biggest competitor in China is Kuaidi, which is backed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.
Didi is owned by Beijing Xiaoju Keji Didi Dache Co and they are planning to have 1,500 employees at the end of this year. Kuaidi is owned by Hangzhou Kuaidi Technology Co., operates in a similar way and allows payments and rebates through Alibaba’s mobile-payment system, Alipay Wallet.
It`s gonna be a great battle between those apps in the future, and the largest player will win greater support when it comes to raising capital and that will in turn help them to grow and be bigger than their competitors.
08:30 a.m EST PPI m/m
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09:55 a.m EST Prelim UoM Consumer Sentiment
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