Tu Simple UPS

Didi Chuxing Preparing to Enter South Korea, and a New Startup Takes on Uber and Lyft

This past week, UPS announced an expansion of its autonomous freight vehicle program, Porsche invests in new tech to help improve AV safety, and Nomad Rides prepares to take on Uber and Lyft.

This Week in Mobility ― August 30, 2019

Nomad Rides Vows to Beat Uber and Lyft

Though Uber and Lyft currently have a combined 98% of the rideshare market, Nomad Rides wants to shake up the industry.

The startup began a new service back in February that charges riders less and pays drivers more. Nomad uses a subscription model, charging riders a flat $25 per month for unlimited rides. They claim to charge riders 20 percent less than Uber and Lyft and pay their drivers 20 percent more.

Nomad Rides began at the University of Indiana in Bloomington and the results were impressive: in 61 days, they completed 5,700 rides. Now, the startup has caught the attention of Silicon Valley and is a part of the Y Combinator.

With mounting pressure on Uber and Lyft to treat their riders better, the market will be receptive to companies like Nomad. With a flat monthly fee, riders can better plan transportation expenses and not have to worry about price hikes during peak demand.

The idea isn’t without challenges. In cities where the cost of fuel and transportation is higher, prices will have to be adjusted. Also, frequent travelers will have to have a “home base” in order to accurately price their services. Will the idea take off? Most definitely. With the backing of Y Combinator, Nomad Rides is on its way to becoming a household name.

UPS Expands Self-Driving Partnership Program

We reported back in May on the new partnership between USPS and self-driving trucking company TuSimple. Apparently, they’ve also caught the eye of UPS and have been working with them on a similar program.

The Level 4 Autonomous trucks have been running on five different routes between Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona, since May. Both a safety driver and engineer have been riding in the trucks as required by law, though the computer is in complete control.

As mounting pressure and regulations continue to pile up in the ridesharing industry, we’ve been reporting on how these same concepts are solving huge problems in the logistics sector.

TuSimple is doing a great job of securing big-name clients and successfully testing their trucks. What’s next for TuSimple? Only time will tell. Now that Florida no longer requires drivers in AVs, maybe the company should head down to the Sunshine State for a little further testing.

Porsche Invests in Israeli Startup to Improve Vehicle Safety Features

On Wednesday, Porsche announced it has acquired a minority stake in an Israeli startup that specializes in the manufacture of short-wave infrared (SWIR) cameras.

TriEye has come up with a new way to manufacture SWIR cameras that cost less than the current model. These cameras are often used to help human drivers see in foggy conditions and extreme weather. SWIR cameras can also assist autonomous vehicles in the same way.

The amount of the investment was undisclosed, but since Porsche also owns Volkswagen, this will provide a less-expensive route for safety features on cars with a smaller price tag.

As companies like TriEye begin to come up with less expensive ways to make parts necessary to the safe operating of AVs, expect innovation to increase.

Didi Prepares to Enter South Korea

Industry experts say Didi Chuxing is poised to begin operations in South Korea next year through an affiliate, Mirae Ohsung.

The Chinese ridehailing giant made headlines recently when it announced it was opening up its infamous app to allow smaller competitors to offer rides to customers on its platform. The service began a few weeks ago. It’s a win-win for Didi and small companies that don’t have the same name recognition or advanced technology.

According to Mirae Ohsung, they’ve finished development of the mobile platform and are waiting for Didi’s approval. In addition to traditional ridehailing, Mirae is also offering a taxi service and a van service with vans that hold 10 passengers.

Nothing is final yet, and the taxi and van service offerings haven’t been confirmed. As the Chinese economy continues to experience problems, global expansion is just what Didi needs to compete with household names like Uber.

Ocean Spray Teams Up With Uber Freight to Help With Supply Chain

As transportation costs continue to soar, Ocean Spray announced it’s teaming up with Uber Freight to transport goods from their processing and distribution centers to stores around the nation.

Uber Freight is a relatively new player on the logistics scene. Unlike other companies, Uber doesn’t do the delivering. They simply provide the app that connects companies with small transportation carriers to get goods delivered.

The food industry has strict regulations on the delivery of produce and perishable goods. Food must be delivered within 36 hours of pickup.

Will Uber Freight provide some stability to a company that’s been losing big lately? It’s hard to tell. There are so many new services offered by the ridehailing megacorporation, it seems that they are losing focus.

That’s the news for this week. Stay tuned for next week’s roundup.


Neolix autonomous vehicle

Uber Overcharges Riders and Volvo Invests in Emergency Mobility Services

This past week, Uber is in hot water over excessive charges, China and the Middle East team up on AV and ridehailing, and BMW names a new CEO.

This Week In Mobility― July 26, 2019

Software Glitch Charges Uber Riders 100X Their Normal Fare

Just as Uber was starting to boost their reputation, a new software glitch in the app is charging customers 100 times their normal fees.

Riders in cities like Washington, DC and San Diego were charged over $1,000 for a single Uber ride. Though Uber states they’ve “fixed” the problem, angry customers insisted that they still haven’t received credits on their bill.

The problems occurred Wednesday in the United States. It’s unclear if this affected other countries as well. Uber Eats customers were charged over $1,000 for $15 dollar meals. The latest tweetstorm stated that there was no way to get in touch with Uber to find out what was going on.

The kicker? A man in Arizona stated his wife was charged $9,672 for an Uber ride that was advertised as $96.72.



Uber is not only alienating their customers by providing subpar support, the drivers who work hard to keep customers happy are being mistreated as well. There’s no way that Uber is going to survive in the long-term if the company cannot provide customer (and driver) support for technical glitches like these.

Chinese Company Will Start AV Trials in Saudi Arabia and UAE

Autonomous car manufacturer Neolix has signed an agreement with Middle Eastern company Noon to start AV trials in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The Middle East has been lagging behind other countries because cars have to withstand heat of over 122 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months. The agreement will help bolster China’s presence in the region.

Other Chinese companies, including Didi Chuxing, have also recently entered into partnerships in UAE to expand operations globally.

China has continued to dominate the ridehailing market and is slowly expanding into SE Asia, the Middle East, and South America. But will they be able to deliver self-driving cars that meet Middle Eastern expectations?

By partnering with large Middle Eastern investors such as Dubai billionaire Mohamed Alabbar, Neolix will be able to dominate the AV market in the Middle East.



New BMW CEO Will Help the Company Focus on AVs and Electric Cars

As luxury automakers struggle to catch up with consumer demands for electric and autonomous vehicles, BMW recently announced the appointment of a new CEO.

Oliver Zipse will replace Harald Krueger as CEO on August 15. The new CEO will be leading focusing on helping BMW develop autonomous and electric vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz and BMW’s joint ridesharing venture is still in full swing. But since Mercedes unveiled their new Power EQ all-electric vehicle in Malaysia earlier this year, BMW has countered that there is “no real demand for all-electric vehicles.”

Contrary to their own statement, BMW announced they are accelerating their electric vehicle production plans by two years. Oliver Zipse has been with the company since 1991, and he may be the person to lead the company into the future.

Didi Chuxing Announces Partnership With Middle Eastern Investors

At the same time that Neolix announced their foray into Middle Eastern AV testing, Didi Chuxing announced they are also focusing on the Middle East.

Didi has been actively raising money for the last two years, and this latest partnership includes investments from several Middle Eastern companies. Investors include Symphony Investment, and several others. It will include the countries of UAE and Saudi Arabia.

As China begins to build an empire in the Middle East, it will be harder for other companies to break into the region. With their innovations in EVs and self-driving technology, the partnership between China and MENA will only grow stronger.

Volvo Invests in Two Israeli Mobility Startups

The Volvo Car Tech Fund, which provides venture capital to companies in the mobility sector, announced it has already invested in UVeye and MDGo.

The Tel-Aviv based startups both provide medical mobility services. MDGo provides car crash data to emergency personnel so first responders can be better prepared for injuries.

UVeye has developed technology that scans the exterior of damaged cars for dents and scratches.

The amount of the investment is undisclosed, but Volvo is also planning to use UVeye tech in their manufacturing plants. This is the first time Volvo has made investments outside of the US and Europe.

As Volvo continues to invest in innovative companies like these, small startups will begin making serious money.


Didi Chuxing Third Party

Postmates Drivers Demand Higher Wages & Didi Chuxing Opens Up Platform

This Week in Mobility― June 21, 2019

This week, Postmates are the latest gig economy workers to protest lower wages, Domino’s experiments with using robot cars to deliver pizzas, and Didi Chuxing begins allowing third-parties to offer mobility services via the Didi Chuxing app.

Postmates Drivers Joined Together With Working Washington in a “BlitzUp”

Your Postmates deliveries may have taken longer than usual last Saturday. That’s because Postmates drivers banned together with worker’s rights group Working Washington to protest a reduction in wages that occurred last May.

Over 2,500 Postmates drivers signed up to participate in a “BlitzUp,” where drivers refused to accept any jobs accept ones in Blitz Mode. Blitz Mode deliveries pay better because the app charges more when there is a short supply of workers.

Working Washington is a worker’s rights group that’s fighting to help on demand workers earn higher wages and access to benefits. Their Postmates BlitzUp was created to help Postmates drivers receive a minimum wage of $15 per hour plus expenses, as well as tips and complete transparency into how much each job is paying.

There’s no word on last week’s results yet, but Working Washington has done a great job of gaining media attention and negotiations with on demand companies so far. Wage cuts have been fairly common across all on demand platforms this year, especially with the current and upcoming IPOs for Uber, Lyft, and Postmates.

Domino’s Pizza Signs Deal to Deliver Via Autonomous Vehicles

Houston residents can now get their Domino’s Pizza delivered via an autonomous robot vehicle. The pizza delivery giant announced Monday that customers can order online and receive a PIN to unlock the Nuro N2 delivery vehicle once it arrives at their home.

Domino’s is also testing another delivery model with Ford’s Argo AI self-driving cars in Miami, but those cars still require a safety driver behind the wheel.

This new program represents a huge leap forward in the application of autonomous vehicles. While experts estimate fully automated cars without safety drivers are still years away, in the meantime “robot” deliveries provide valuable data to help the industry overall.

Uber and Lyft Suggest Alternative to Proposed California Worker’s Rights Bill

Even though the US government has said that rideshare workers are contractors and not employees, a new gig-worker bill passed the California Assembly last month and is awaiting approval by the state senate.

California’s Assembly Bill 5 would reclassify gig workers as employees instead of contractors and cost companies like Uber and Lyft billions in taxes every year.

Executives from Uber and Lyft banned together to write an op-ed in The San Francisco Chronicle which proposed an interesting alternative. Instead of classifying drivers as employees, the companies suggested “amending existing law to allow for a system of worker-determined benefits — from paid time off to retirement planning to lifelong learning — could deliver a measure of security that independent workers currently lack.”

The proposed California legislation sets a dangerous precedent. If passed, the already delicate finances of the world’s largest ridesharing services would be at risk. Ridesharing solves important environmental and logistical problems, and until these companies find a way to be profitable, legislation like this puts the entire industry at risk.

New Legislation Equates Car-Sharing Services to Rental Cars

The state of Maine recently passed the Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Insurance Act, which requires car sharing services to comply with the same laws as rental companies, including insurance requirements. The law still requires the governor’s approval in order to be active.

Because the new law doesn’t limit car sharing service operator’s liability, Turo has already threatened to pull out of Maine entirely if the law goes into effect.

Legislator’s nationwide are keeping an eye on this proposed law, as there are 33 proposed laws in other state legislatures.

The ramifications of this proposed legislation are similar to that of California’s Assembly Bill 5. If this law goes into effect, it could effectively kill an industry that’s just getting started.

Didi Chuxing Begins Offering Other Mobility Services Via Its App

If you can’t beat them, let them have access to your customers — for a fee. That’s what rideshare giant Didi Chuxing is doing in China.

The country’s largest on demand ride service released a new feature on its app called Third Party. This allows smaller players in the nation’s burgeoning mobility industry to advertise their services on the app in exchange for a small commission paid per trip. Didi Chuxing hopes this idea eases vehicle shortages during times like rush hour.

The move is a smart one, and it will be interesting to see if this can help similar companies in other countries become profitable.


Softbank rideshare king

Deep Pockets: The Top 10 Ridesharing VC Firms

As ridesharing startups roar forward, cutting large swathes through the transportation market, a handful of venture capital firms have been injecting massive amounts of cash into the leading ride-hailing companies. With sharp-eyed instinct and practiced senses honing in on top prospects, these VC firms have refined investing in a sure thing to a fine art.

1. Softbank

Few VC firms have had as much influence on one sector as Softbank has had on ridesharing startups. The Tokyo-based firm has been pouring money into the ridesharing market since 2015 when it first funded Ola, a cabsharing company from India. Softbank has helped to raise $4 billion for Didi Chuxing, more than $7 billion for Uber and has invested $3.4 billion in Cruise Automation, a San Francisco startup that makes software for self-driving cars. In 2018, Softbank moved into logistics when they raised $1.9 billion for Manbang Group, a swiftly expanding truck-hailing company based in Beijing.

2. Tiger Global

This aptly named American VC firm has invested heavily in ridesharing startups since the beginning of the ridesharing boom. Tiger Global is a longtime supporter of both Ola and Grab, a ride-hailing startup based in Singapore. The firm also participated in two large funding rounds for Brazil’s 99 carsharing service before it was snapped up by Didi Chuxing in 2018 for $1 billion.

3. Fidelity Management & Research Company

As the investment arm of the American financial services company Fidelity Investments, Fidelity Management & Research Company has plenty of cash to use in bankrolling the ridesharing sector. The firm has recently become one of the top investors in Lyft, raising more than $2 billion for the ridesharing giant in less than one year. They recently raised $335 million for bikesharing startup Lime and have turned their eye to the sky, investing more than $100 million in the airline charter startup Wheels Up.

4. Magna International

Canadian automotive company Magna International is banking on self-driving cars as the wave of the future. Initially, the company was mainly interested in car tracking technology. They first invested $8 million in car locator app Zubie in 2014 and followed it with a hefty $16 million payout for Peloton Technology, a truck tracking company. In May 2018, they joined in the ridesharing funding craze by raising $200 million for Lyft.

5. Seqouia Capital

One of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious VC firms, Sequoia, has been just as eager as smaller firms to dive into the rapidly growing ridesharing sector. They were an early investor in Uber, joining in on an $11 million Series A funding round in 2015. Sequoia has also dabbled in the Asian ridesharing market, financing iCarsClub in Singapore and Ola in India. More recently, Sequoia led a $300 million funding round for Bird, an up-and coming scooter sharing service.

5. Coatue Management

This New York-based VC firm has hedged its bets by investing in a wide variety of ridesharing companies from every part of the globe. From Didi Chuxing in China to Careem in the United Arab Emirates, Coatue has helped to raise over $3 billion for various ridesharing companies. Coatue has also invested substantially in both Uber and Lyft, as well as the bikesharing startups Ofo and Lime.

Careem cofounders


6. Index Ventures

Although the Swiss VC firm was a late arrival to the ridesharing scene, they have more than made up for lost time. They raised $100 million for Blablacar, Europe’s largest ridesharing startup and helped fund Bird’s $100 million Series B funding round. The Geneva-based company has also contributed to less well-known ridesharing startups like Less, which was recently acquired by Blablacar.

7. Tencent Holdings

The owner of China’s ubiquitous WeChat app, Tencent is also one of the largest investment corporations in the world. Long focused on investing in e-commerce and entertainment startups, Tencent began to eye the ridesharing sector in 2014 when they helped raise a $700 million Series D funding round for Didi Chuxing. The company has never looked back, raising $150 million for Lyft and $7.7. billion for Uber. Tencent has also dabbled in the bikesharing market by raising $1.1. billion for Ola and more than $900 million for Mobike.

8. Accel

As one of the world’s top VC firms, Accel has invested in many successful tech startups, including Groupon, Flipkart and Spotify. However, Accel has also made its mark in the ridesharing world. A longtime investor in France’s Blablacar, Accel has also raised substantial funds for lesser known ridesharing companies like Shuddle and Hailo. More recently, the company has shifted its focus to electric scooter firms, raising $300 million for Bird and $25 million for Skip Scooters.

9. GGV Capital

GGV Capital is one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious VC firms and has a bevy of high-profile investments top prove it, most notably Alibaba and Pandora. However, the firm has also injected millions of dollars into ride-hailing startups like Grab and Didi Chuxing. More recently, they began concentrating on the bike sharing sector, raising over $150 million for Hellobike and participating in a $50 million Series B round for Lime.

10. Steadview Capital

Unlike other VC firms, Hong Kong-based Steadview Capital is particularly choosy when selecting its investments. Since it was founded in 2009, Steadview has only invested in a select few companies. Together with Softbank and Tencent, it has funded Ola’s rapid rise to the top of the ridesharing market in India. Altogether, the firm has raised more than $400 for the taxi-hailing startup.

By carefully selecting the most promising startups, these VC firms jumpstarted and rode the ridesharing boom. Whether they have a diversified portfolio of investments or are just focusing on one part of the market, their capital has helped fund the rapid rise of ridesharing companies in North America, Asia and Europe. As the market moves into bike sharing and scooter sharing, these firms will continue to be on the forefront of the ridesharing trend.


Lyft ipo stock price

Uber Buys Careem, Lyft Prepares for IPO And Launches Driver Services

This Week In On Demand― March 28, 2019: Lyft IPO Edition

This week, Uber confirms it is buying Careem, Lyft makes headlines with new driver services in advance of today’s IPO, and a new Chinese ridesharing service may give Didi Chuxing a run for its money.

Lyft Unveils New Driver Services Program

In the wake of its upcoming IPO, Lyft unveiled a new Driver Service program that offers services ranging from fee-free bank accounts to discounts on car maintenance.

The Lyft Direct online bank account gives drivers access to their money immediately after rides are complete, no fees, and cash back on everyday purchases including 2% on gas and 1% on groceries.

Lyft opened its first Driver Service Center on Wednesday in San Francisco. The service center promises drivers will save up to 50% on car repairs and have repairs completed twice as fast as comparable shops. The company also expanded its Express Drive program, where drivers can rent vehicles at a discount.

While these services are attractive to potential Lyft drivers, current drivers of the ride-hailing service are frustrated with the recent reduction in pay.

Uber Announces Purchase of Careem

Ride-sharing giant Uber confirmed Wednesday that it is buying its largest middle-eastern competitor Careem for $3.1 billion. The sale is expected close in Q1 2020.

This is a particularly important win for Uber, as the company is preparing for an April IPO. Experts have been doubtful about Uber’s ability to scale globally. The company came under heavy fire after selling operations in China, Russia, and Southeast Asia.

Careem will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Uber, and Careem’s three co-founders will continue to run the service after the acquisition.

Even though this is a big win for Uber, it may not be enough to win the hearts of cautious investors. The company still has stiff competition in important global markets like India and Latin America.

Uber buys careem


New Chinese Ride Sharing Service T3 Set to Topple Didi Chuxing

The Chinese ridesharing market is the largest in the world, estimated to be worth about $23 billion. Didi Chuxing is China’s largest rideshare provider, raking in 90% of market share. Even Uber couldn’t get a foothold in the country.

But a new service is challenging Didi’s position. T3 is the brainchild of a dozen groups, including automakers like BMW and tech powerhouse Alibaba. The group raised about $1.45 billion to invest in carsharing services running on renewable energy.

Will this new ridesharing service be able to compete? With significant backing from a number of investors with deep pockets and automakers at the helm, probably so.

Lyft Trading Begins Today After Weeklong Roadshow Courting Investors

After months of anticipation, Lyft stock begins trading today at an IPO price of $72 per share. The company has been on the road for the past week, wooing potential investors and moving meetings to avoid driver protests.

On Monday, the roadshow scheduled to meet at the Omni Hotel in San Francisco was moved to The Olympic Club instead. Drivers frustrated with recent rate cuts came out in the rain and protested the IPO, unaware the meeting had been moved because “the space wasn’t big enough.”

Investors don’t seem to be too impressed with Lyft’s message of reaching 20% margins. Some in attendance at this week’s roadshows told media outlets Lyft has no timeline on when it will hit its goals.

Just like Uber, which is also making big moves in advance of its April IPO, Lyft is losing money. Last year’s losses totaled $911 million on $2.1 billion in revenue. With numbers like that, Lyft’s IPO may turn out to be as disappointing as Facebook.

Oak Street Health Partners With Lyft to Provide Healthcare Transportation Services

While Uber seems to snag up partnerships with transit authorities, Lyft is looking to healthcare. Earlier this week it announced an expansion of its partnership with Indianapolis-based primary care provider Oak Street Health to provide rides for Medicare patients. The pilot program began last year and has met with positive feedback.

According to Health Leaders Media, Lyft has already shared its plans to grow its business through its existing relationships with hospitals and other healthcare transportation providers.

This is a good move for Lyft and may help it ease the fears of investors who are skeptical about how Lyft is going to increase market share and make good on the 20% margins it claims it can achieve.

Lime Pulling Bike Sharing Programs Out of Several Cities

E-mobility company Lime pulled bike sharing programs out of several cities, including Green Bay, WI; Wake Forest and Durham, NC; Hartford, CO; and several other smaller markets.

The company states it is focusing more on its electric scooter market. Given that more cities are tightening regulations on electric scooters or banning them altogether, companies like Lime may be out of business before they even got started.


Postmates driver

Postmates Serves, Didi Uberizes, And Go-Jek Goes For Grab

This Week in On Demand — Jan. 4, 2019

New year, new news. We’re only a few days into 2019, but the on demand industries are already making headlines. Here’s what you need to know.

Hellobike Secures New Funding

While many companies in the Chinese bike-sharing market have faced financial challenges in the last year, Hellobike finished off 2018 with a successful funding round.

Hello TransTech, owner of the Hellobike service, announced a large Series G round late last week led by Ant Financial and Primavera Capital. However, the company is staying mum on the funding totals.

Hellobike’s latest news stands in stark contrast to other big players in China’s bike-sharing industry.

Two of its top competitors, Ofo and Mobike, were forced to substantially reduce their fleet sizes within recent months to avoid total collapse. While Hellobike has a much smaller fleet, the business is also focused on more rural markets where competition is slim.

Didi Expands Service Offerings in China to Retain Fleet

Didi is expanding its service offerings to help compete in China’s ever-evolving ridesharing market.

On New Year’s Day, the company announced they’ll begin offering insurance and finance services. The new arrangement includes auto and health insurance options as well as discounted vehicle rental rates.

The move comes amid new regulations that raise ridesharing driver requirements.

Beginning this week, all contract drivers in China must maintain two driver licenses as well as work and vehicle permits.

Didi is attempting to counteract any law-related driver struggles with their latest round of perks, which are only available to individuals on the platform.

didi chuxing app


Grab Sets Sights on $5 Billion Fundraising Round While Go-Jek Expands to Singapore

As we reported last week, Grab is expecting a $1 billion investment from SoftBank. Now, the Southeast Asian company is hoping to boost their Series H round to $5 billion. Originally, the Singapore-based rideshare venture set their sights on a $3 billion round after an initial $1 billion boost from Toyota, but their latest investment pushed them within $500 million of their new target.

While Grab focuses on investors, one of their biggest competitors is landing in their home turf. Go-Jek announced on Monday that it’s expanding its service to all areas of Singapore.

The Indonesian-based company is currently in beta testing for the city-state market, so prospective riders and drivers face a waitlist. The company also launched in Vietnam and Thailand in recent months.

Postmates Showcases Serve, Earns Best Startup Nod, and Partners With Steve Aoki for a Good Cause

Since its launch, Postmates has been powered by its fleet of delivery drivers to serve its customer base.

Now, the on demand delivery service is turning to self-driving robots. Known as Serve, the new feature is powered by electricity and boasts a battery capable of covering 30 miles on a single charge. The company will begin testing the sidewalk-based rover in Los Angeles before expanding to more markets.

The innovative move has also helped earn Postmates the title of one of the best San Francisco startups of 2018. They were one of three companies chosen by the San Francisco Chronicle and Crunchbase for standing out from the Silicon Valley crowd over the past 12 months.

Postmates rounded out their impressive year by giving back. Sparked by a Twitter exchange with DJ Steve Aoki, Postmates made a special holiday pizza delivery to a Los Angeles homeless shelter. The pizzas were from Pizzaoki, which is owned by Aoki.

Leaked Uber Survey Gives Insight Into Employee Morale

On Tuesday, Uber’s latest employee survey results were reportedly leaked.

The anonymous survey took place in October, covering 35 questions with replies from over 18,000 employees. While the questions were fairly limited, they covered a wide range of topics concerning employee satisfaction.

When asked about their compensation levels, including benefits, only 40 percent believed their earnings were comparable to other organizations. On the other hand, 83 percent have a positive outlook on Uber’s future within the next few years. Over half of the respondents also reported seeing a future for themselves at the company.

The survey results offer an interesting glimpse into the internal morale of the ridesharing company. Over the past few years, Uber has experienced ups and downs. But current CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi has spent the last year pushing to improve both customer and employee satisfaction ahead of the company’s IPO later this year.

Well, you’re all caught up with the first round of on demand news of the year. There’s plenty more to come in 2019, so be sure to check back next week.


on demand economy - man ringing bell held by robot hand

The State Of The On Demand Economy

On Demand In 2018: The Arena Is Crowded, But Growing

It’s hard to believe Uber was founded almost a decade (2009) ago. Lyft is a bit younger, but still a six year old company. It’s incredible to think how much these two apps, along with Postmates, Google Express, Instacart, Grubhub, Doordash, and a whole bunch of others, have changed how we get around, and how we shop for food and household items.

The other day, I tried to remember the last time I was in a taxi cab. I couldn’t. Then, I tried to remember the last time I actually called a restaurant to order delivery or take out. Couldn’t remember that either. However, although I used Instacart once, I still generally go to the supermarket myself. Call me old fashioned.

Bikes and Scooters: A New Wrinkle

Besides all the available rideshare and delivery apps, a new type of app has appeared in the last year that looks to further change how we get around – ebike and escooter dockless rental apps. The concept is pretty simple. A user searches for an available ebike or escooter on the app. The app locates a nearby escooter or ebike. The user walks over, unlocks the ebike or escooter using the app, and rides to their desitnation. When they get there, they can just leave the ebike or escooter parked off to the side. Although the field is pretty new, there are already a few major players. It’s likely not all of these companies are going to make it (remember Sidecar).

  • Bird – $115 million in funding, raising an additional $200 million
  • Jump – Already bought by Uber
  • Limebike – $132 million in funding, raising up to an additional $500 million
  • Spin – Originally bikes, recently added an ebike to their offerings – $8 million in funding
  • Skip – $6 million in funding

If that weren’t enough, Lyft is also developing it’s own e-bike/e-scooter service.

So much change in just a few years, and yet, it’s likely only the beginning.

The Next Five Years

Both Lyft and Uber aim to integrate more with municipal transportation systems in the coming years. Uber CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, is aiming to make Uber the “Amazon of transportation“. This is why both companies are moving into the ebike and escooter area. Both eventually aim to become an end to end transportation company. Currently, you can use the Lyft or Uber app to book a Lyft or Uber ride only. Look for e-bike options to be added with a year. Over the next five years, expect Lyft or Uber to try and integrate subway, light rail schedules and external booking into their apps.

On Demand Economy - hands holding phone

2018 is likely to be a year of massive change for the on demand arena, and especially for Uber and Lyft. Although Uber is aiming to go public in late 2019, Lyft may try an IPO in late 2018. Whatever happens, 2018 is likely to be the last year in which all the on demand companies are privately held. Besides the coming IPO’s, there’s also the question of how fast both companies will be able to integrate autonomous vehicles into their fleets.

International Rideshare Players

In the U.S., it’s basically Lyft and Uber. Outside the U.S., it’s a whole different ballgame. Didi cleaned Uber’s clock in China (Uber surrendered, left and took a small stake in Didi.) Grab is dominant in S.E. Asia (Uber sold their s.e. asia business to them recently). In India, Ola is number one, with Uber a distant second. In Europe and Africa, Uber is dominant, but stiff competition is coming.

  • Didi – Dominant in China, operates in Brazil; Planning expansion to Europe, Africa, and the U.S.
  • Ola – Dominant in India
  • Grab – Dominant in S.E. Asia
  • Taxify – European startup, also expanding in Africa – just closed a $175 million funding round led by Daimler Chrysler.
  • Softbank – Japanese conglomerate that has stakes in Uber, Didi, Ola, and Grab. Nobody realizes it, but Softbank is actually the quiet king of rideshare on the planet earth. They also just invested in GM’s self driving car division.

Self-Driving Cars

Autonomous vehicles are coming, but they’re not likely to fully take over the roads in the next five years. Even when they do, they’ll still be a need for drivers (although not as many) However, they will start to become a more common site in the next few years. Virtually every major automaker is a player in this area, and they’re all doing some testing in California. Here’s a quick rundown of who’s doing what and who’s ahead.

  • Waymo (Google subsidiary) – The leader in the field. They have more self driving cars on the road, that have driven more miles, than everyone else on this list combined. One of the ways success is measured in self-driving cars is how long the vehicle can go without a human driver having to intervene. By this metric, Waymo is first by a large margin.
  • Ford – A strong second, but they need more testing.
  • GM – Third, but just got a massive investment from Softbank.
  • Tesla – Tesla gets a lot of hype, but their actual self-driving technology lags behind the three front runners
  • Uber – Overall, their program has been a disaster. They don’t have the funds, or the engineering talent to compete with Google in this area.
  • Lyft – partnering with various companies – no real internal program
  • Daimler-Mercedes, Fiat, Honda, Toyota, BMW and many others – all have testing permits for autonomous vehicles in California.

In all likelihood, both Uber and Lyft will wind up incorporating self-driving cars from Waymo, Ford or GM into their platforms. As it turns out, developing true self-driving vehicles is incredibly difficult, and frankly, beyond the scope of Uber and Lyft’s capabilities. Put another way, Google has unlimited funds, the best self-driving engineering talent in the world, and has been working in the field for six years, and they’re just getting to the point where they can safely put a lot of their self-driving cars on the road. As you can see, the on demand economy is a complicated and crowded arena with a lot of moving parts.

It’ll be interesting to see what everything looks like in 2023.

jakarta uber grab

Uber Teams With Blackberry To Save Its Floundering Southeast Asia Operation

Uber’s troubles in Asia are well-known. The company blew over $1 billion in China trying to compete with Didi. Eventually, they sold out to Didi. In almost every other Asian market, Uber lags behind a local or regional competitor. In India, Ola is beating Uber. Grab, a Singaporean company, has been eating Uber’s lunch across Southeast Asia.

Uber has now made it’s first big move to reverse its fortunes in the region. You can now order an Uber from BBM, the Blackberry chat and video app. This may seem strange, since in the U.S., almost no one uses a Blackberry anymore. But, many people outside the U.S. do use Blackberry’s messenger app on IOS and Android devices.

In fact, about 190 million people use the BBM app in parts of Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In Indonesia, (population – 260 million), BBM is the most popular chat app in the country. The app is present on almost ninety percent of the Android devices in the country.

BBM Is Crucial To Uber’s Plan In Indonesia

Indonesia is also a huge rideshare market and home to the fastest growing internet market in the world. The country is already the largest rideshare market in Southeast Asia, with over $1 billion in rides completed this year. By 2025, the Indonesian rideshare market will approach $6 billion per year.

[su_box title=”Indonesia Is The Largest Rideshare Market In S.E. Asia” style=”soft” box_color=”#d1a927″ title_color=”#d1274f”]uber jakarta

Photo by Tokuriki[/su_box]

In all of Southeast Asia, Uber is playing second fiddle to its rival Grab. In Indonesia though, Uber not only lags behind Grab, but also Go-Jek, a local rideshare startup. Since Indonesia represents about 35% of the S.E. Asia rideshare market, Uber desperately needed to make a move.

Integrating Uber with BBM gives Uber a chance to gain some traction in this important market. Approximately 80 million users in Indonesia will now have easy access to an Uber through the BBM app. However, it’s still a big question if this will help Uber make a dent.

Can Uber Compete In Indonesia, Or The Rest Of Asia?

So far, the answer is a resounding no.

In almost every Asian market, Uber has been flat out beaten by competitors who better adapted their services to the local area. Both Didi and Grab offer in-app translation in many markets, while Uber does not. Didi, Grab, and Ola also began accepting cash much earlier than Uber. Many analysts think Uber’s main mistake was trying to push a business model that was originally designed for wealthier markets. Whatever the cause, these errors have cost Uber dearly. While they are the leading rideshare company in the U.S., Uber currently does have above a 30% market share in any country in Asia.

In Indonesia, Uber’s situation is even worse. Grab and Go-Jek already have a combined 90% market share or higher. Uber is far behind in third place. While the Blackberry partnership is a step in the right direction, it’s probably too little, too late. Ridesharing has been available in Indonesia since 2012, and Grab and Go-Jek are just too far ahead. What Uber is trying to do now is akin to if Sidecar (remember them) decided to relaunch in the United States today by integrating with WeChat. Nice try, but it just wouldn’t work.

Photo by Lavinia Elysia