Dominos rad power e-bike

Domino’s Pizza Announces New Delivery Program, Waymo Headed to FL for Extreme Weather Testing and Much More

This Week in Mobility ― August 23, 2019

This past week, a new Oregon carsharing project in Hood River won a large federal grant, Waymo announces a new testing program in Florida, and Domino’s announces a new plan to compete with the likes of UberEats and Postmates.

Oregon Carsharing Project Gets $548K Federal Grant

Though car sharing services are common in big cities, the electric vehicle advocates at Forth are trying to change that.

The Department of Energy awarded a $548,540 grant to the Portland, Oregon, group (formerly called Drive Oregon) to help them place five plug-in vehicles in rural communities.

American Honda has loaned the group five Clarity electric vehicles. The EVs will be stationed at one of five charging stations in Hood River, Oregon. Customers can rent the cars through Envoy Technologies.

This is definitely a step in the right direction, but a lot of challenges lie ahead for the program. Customers have to get to the vehicles in order to use them, which can be challenging. Also, there’s a lack of reliable internet service in many rural areas, which makes using the necessary platform to rent a car nearly impossible.

But these challenges can be overcome. It’s exciting to see electric cars start to make their way into rural communities, where they are desperately needed.

DoorDash Takes a Play Straight Out of UberEats’ Playbook

Less than a month after UberEats announced a partnership with the Olo Rails restaurant software, DoorDash came out with a similar announcement.

Revention, a restaurant software maker, announced last week it’s partnering with DoorDash for delivery services.

According to a press release on Yahoo! Finance, the partnership allows restaurants to use DoorDash for delivery and “streamlining existing delivery operations to accommodate for peak times, unexpected surge of orders, downtime, and service outside of standard areas”

While these partnerships have obvious benefits for both the delivery service and the software makers, small, locally-owned restaurants benefit as well.

Small restaurants that invest in tech platforms like Revention and Olo can compete with franchises and corporate-owned restaurants by offering delivery services.

Waymo to Test AVs in Florida During Heavy Rain

Now that driverless cars are allowed to operate in Florida without a safety driver, Waymo is taking advantage of the new regulation.

Even though Florida is sunny most of the year, June 1 through November 30 is hurricane season. Heavy rain is typical during this time of year, even if the state isn’t directly hit with a hurricane.

That’s why Waymo is headed to the Sunshine State during the soggiest season of the year. The company is going to test its autonomous vehicles at a track in Naples, Florida, during rainstorms to see how well the cameras and sensors hold up.

This isn’t the first time Waymo has used extreme weather to its advantage. The AV vehicle maker began testing their vehicles during extreme winter weather in Michigan back in 2017.

As AV manufacturers look to create cars that hold up under any and all weather conditions, expect to see more than just Waymo headed to Florida to battle-test their prototypes.

Nigerian Logistics Startup Kobo360 Raises $30M

According to TechCrunch, Kobo360 recently raised a combined $30 million in a Series A funding round and working capital from various Nigerian banks.

Kubo360 matches companies, truckers and delivery services on an app that works similar to Uber. The logistics startup began in 2017 and has an impressive client roster that includes Unilever, DHL, and Honeywell.

The Series A round was led by Goldman Sachs and totaled $20 million, while the working capital from Nigerian banks totaled $10 million.

We’ve reported before on how companies like TuSimple and Phantom Auto are tackling big problems in the logistics industry. As startups like Kobo360 begin to receive more resources to streamline delivery services, what began as Uber is now solving problems the company never thought to tackle.

Dominos Will Start Testing Ebike Delivery Service in Select Cities This Year

In an effort to compete with delivery services like DoorDash and UberEats, Domino’s announced a new ebike pizza delivery program.

Rad Power Bikes has teamed up with Domino’s to provide the pedal power for pizza deliveries.

According to Domino’s, the innovative pizza delivery service will begin rolling out the new delivery program in its corporate stores later this year. Instead of a full-scale deployment, Domino’s will start with its Baltimore, Houston, Miami, and Salt Lake City locations.

Rad Power Bikes Commercial Division will be handling the partnership. According to the company’s blog, Rad’s B2B sales increased 600 percent between 2017 and 2018.

Will Domino’s be able to bring up its bottom line? Probably so. The pizza king has continually been at the forefront of innovation in the restaurant industry. If you’re craving some cheesy goodness, you can order Domino’s Pizza on Twitter, Slack, and even Alexa. With innovation like that, they’ll continue to thrive.


Uber Expands Uber Comfort, Waymo to Participate in New AV Pilot Program

This week, Softbank injects $250 million into Ola Electric, Waymo will begin participating in California’s EV Pilot Program, and Uber Comfort gives special attention to customers at a lower price point than Uber Black.

Uber Unveils New Level of Service

Some Uber riders have long complained about not having enough legroom during their rides or drivers who want to talk during the entire trip.

In response to these egregious offenses, Uber recently launched a new service tier called Uber Comfort. Pricing falls just below Uber Black, their flagship service tier.

Features of Uber Comfort rides include more legroom and “Quiet Mode,” which allows riders to request a silent ride. Riders can also request specific temperature settings within the app. Drivers will set the temperature prior to picking riders up, so it’s not too hot or cold.

Uber Comfort drivers are required to have a rating of 4.85 or higher and a late-model, midsize sedan to participate.

Uber Comfort is now available in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Charlotte, Chicago, Connecticut, Dallas, Fresno, Hampton Roads, Houston, Honolulu, Indianapolis, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Madison, Memphis, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Jersey, New Orleans, Omaha, Orange County, Ottawa, Palm Springs, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Portland, Raleigh-Durham, Rhode Island, Richmond, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Tucson, Wichita, and Washington D.C.

How well will the service do? With a lower price point than Uber Black but higher than the popular Uber X service, it’s too early to tell.

Softbank Injects $250M Into Ola Electric

After the Indian Government ordered both Ola and Uber to convert 40% of its fleet to electric vehicles (EVs) by 2026, Ola Electric has been working hard to beef up its program.

Ola Electric’s latest Series B financing round led by Softbank included a $250-million investment in the company.

Ola Electric has already been working on electric vehicles for years. This latest cash infusion will allow them to put 10,000 electric vehicles on the road by the end of this year. They plan to put a million similar vehicles on the road in the “coming” years.

Ride-sharing giant Ola, the parent company of Ola Electric, recently partnered with EV manufacturers to meet Ola Electric’s government mandate.

With this recent investment by Softbank, as well as a $300-million investment from Hyundai and Kia into parent company Ola, Ola Electric will continue to dominate India’s ride-hailing market and make a significant impact on carbon emissions at the same time.

California Permits Waymo to Participate in AV Pilot Program

Autonomous vehicle operator Waymo recently received permission from the California Public Utilities Commission to participate in their AV Passenger Service Pilot.

The program allows Waymo to operate AV services in specific areas of California with a safety driver in the car.

Four companies have received permits, including Zoox,, Autox, and Waymo. The companies are not allowed to be paid for rides.

The government program was passed in California last year and includes two programs: one with a safety driver and one without. So far, no permits have been issued for the driverless portion of the program.

Waymo is already a leader in AV programs after opening the first commercial autonomous car service in Phoenix, Arizona.

Though the company can’t yet charge for rides, participating in a government pilot program in Arizona was how they found their first riders for the Waymo One service. They are quickly on their way to becoming the Uber of AV programs.

Indian Government Provides Tax Incentives to EV Buyers

India is getting serious about reducing emissions.

In addition to requiring Uber and Ola to convert 40% of their fleet to EVs by 2026, the Indian government announced a tax rebate for electric vehicle buyers.

The rebate will provide ₹1.5 lakh (about $2,000 in USD) to any driver that purchases an electric vehicle in the country.

India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also announced the government’s intention to develop a local manufacturing hub for EV parts in the country.

With a population of over one billion, it’s wonderful to see India taking steps to help reduce the amount of pollution created by the country’s drivers. By encouraging drivers to take advantage of the tax rebate, they are well on their way to helping the world become a greener place.

Food Delivery Apps Will Have 38M Users by Next Year

According to the data scientists at eMarketer, food delivery services will have approximately 38 million users in the US by the end of the year. This is a 21.8% jump over 2018’s numbers.

DoorDash (27.6%) and Grubhub (26.7%) continue to dominate the market, with a relatively new player on the scene, Caviar, appearing in the bottom slot with 2.7% of market share.

As the number of smartphone users increases, eMarketer estimates 60 million smartphone users will order food delivery at least once a month.

With the rise of “ghost kitchens” being used for food delivery, the industry could well surpass expectations. As with ride-hailing platforms, services like these continue to help reduce carbon emissions in the United States and beyond.


Self Driving Car

10 VC Firms Funding Self Driving Research You Probably Haven’t Heard Of

As self-driving cars have become more of a reality and less of a science fiction prop, global VC firms are stepping up to invest funds in the next big wave of the future. Investors are pouring cash into companies developing mapping software and firms creating cutting-edge navigation programs for brand-new fleets of autonomous cars. While you’ve probably heard of Waymo, Tesla, and the BMW – Mercedes partnership, there are actually hundreds of companies working and investing in self driving technologies worldwide.  Here are 10 VC firms getting a jump on the future by investing in self-driving cars.

1. IDG Capital

When the prestigious VC firm announced in October 2017 that they were beginning a significant $1.5 billion push to fund autonomous vehicle startups, the tech community stood up and took notice. Within a two-month period, they raised over $330 million for Xiaopeng Motors in its run-up to the release of the G3 SUV crossover. More recently, IDG raised $112 million for’s self-driving platform and funded Kuandeng’s high definition mapping technology.

2. Maniv Mobility

Since 2015, Michael Granoff’s Israeli VC firm has been targeting and funding promising autonomous vehicle startups worldwide. The company has poured millions of dollars into a wide variety of self-driving startups, including raising $25 million for Otonomo’s platform for designing autonomous vehicle apps. Maniv has dabbled in the automated fleet sector, funding a Series A round for Ridecell and raising $9 million for Upstream Security. The VC firm also raised $12 million for to further develop its autonomous driving software.

3. Samsung Catalyst Fund

Launched by Samsung in 2013, the Catalyst Fund finances early-stage startups in the US and abroad. The company’s portfolio is full of nascent companies developing self-driving technologies. In 2017, the VC firm raised $30 million for Autotalks and $10 million for Renovo Auto. More recently, the company has moved into funding startups working on 3D sensing and accurate mapping for self-driving vehicles.

4. Toyota AI Ventures

Explicitly created by the Toyota Research Institute to invest in AI startups, Toyota AI Ventures has spent the last year raising money for a host of autonomous vehicle startups. The company has raised over $160 million for Nauto, a Palo Alto-based startup whose self-driving system uses computer vision, GPS, and motion sensors to navigate. The VC firm has also invested heavily in May Mobility, an autonomous vehicle manufacturing startup from Michigan.

5. Matrix Partners China

Although Matrix has historically focused on the fin-tech sector, the Chinese branch of American VC firm Matrix Partners has been increasingly eying the self-driving market. Since the beginning of 2018, the company has been sinking millions of dollars into burgeoning automotive vehicle companies. In January, Matrix raised over $320 million for self-driving vehicle manufacturer Xiaopeng Motors. They also participated in a $448 million Series B funding round for CHJ Automotive, a Beijing-based startup working on an autonomous electric vehicle.

6. 360 Capital Partners

Since it took charge of the $93 million Robolution fund in 2016, the Paris-based VC firm has shown increased interest in the self-driving sector. While other investors have bankrolled American and Chinese companies, 360 Capital Partners has spent its funds on French and Israeli startups. The firm raised $34.7 million for Navya’s fleet of autonomous cabs and shuttles in 2016 and recently contributed to a $10 million Series A round for Arbe Robotics’ high-performance vehicle radar systems.


7. Synapse Partners

Synapse Partners has its focus firmly on the future of AI in transportation. Managing director Evangelos Simoudis is a longtime champion of autonomous vehicles, and the company’s portfolio reflects this interest. Synapse is a staunch backer of Renovo Auto, a startup that makes a self-driving platform for automotive vehicles. The company has also provided seed funds for and Metamoto, newer startups dedicated to developing autonomous software.

8. GGV Capital

With some of the deepest pockets in the venture capital world, it’s no surprise that GGV Capital has also made forays into the emerging self-driving vehicle market. The company gave a boost to Momenta’s HD mapping technology and raised Series B funding for Xiaopeng Motors. The firm was also an early investor in Ehang, a Shanghai-based company that is attempting to develop the first autonomous air vehicle.

9. Greycroft

While best known for successful exits from startups like Venmo and Blue Apron, Greycroft has also flirted with autonomous vehicle startups. The firm has been a significant funder of Optimus Ride, a Massachusetts-based company that makes self-driving software and whose cars can be seen traversing the streets of Boston. Greycroft has raised more than $20 million for the company’s low-speed electric vehicles.

10. O.G. Tech Ventures

Israeli billionaire Eyal Ofer launched his own tech VC firm in 2017, and since its inception, the company has concentrated on security and self-driving startups. Using its sizeable dedicated fund, O.G. has raised more than $18 million for Arbe Robotics. The Tel Aviv-based startup is working on an improved version of 4D radar to help self-driving cars navigate around obstacles in the road.


Developing self-driving platforms comes with a high cost; however, these VC firms have chosen to bankroll the next big trend by adding the most promising autonomous vehicle startups to their portfolios. As tech companies perfect dynamic radar cruise control and prepare urban centers for automated fleets, these firms are making the future possible.


Uber stock falls

Uber Stock Falls Since Last Week’s IPO, NLRD Rules Against Drivers, Paris Threatens Escooter Ban

This Week in Mobility ― May 17, 2019

This week, Uber stocks continue to fall, Paris threatens to ban escooter companies from operating on city streets, and Indian grocery startup Grofers scores a $200 million investment from Softbank Vision Fund.

Uber Stocks Fall Twice Since Last Week’s IPO

It’s no surprise that Uber stock has fallen 10.7% since going public last week. Rival company Lyft released a dismal earnings report last week, but Uber’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi remains optimistic.

CNBC reported that Khosrowshahi sent a memo to employees encouraging them to look at the disappointing IPOs of Amazon and Facebook as a lesson in what to expect for the company’s future.

While pre-IPO valuations of the company were as high as $120 billion, their horrible stock performance in the past week has cut that estimate in half. Based on their current stock prices, Uber’s current valuation is hovering between $60-65 billion. However, the last couple of days have changed, as both Uber and Lyft are starting to see a slight increase in their trading prices.

Will Uber be able to gain ground and recover from their horrible IPO? It’s hard to tell. With tighter regulations and driver lawsuits, it may be quite a while before Uber sees any profit at all. As other rideshare companies look at Uber and Lyft as role models for the industry, it is becoming increasingly difficult to stay optimistic.

Lyft and Uber Drivers Lose Ground in Their Demands for Better Treatment

On May 14, the US National Labor Relations Board released a statement that rideshare drivers are independent contractors. Both Uber and Lyft drivers are currently suing the companies, stating that they should be classified under US labor law as employees and not independent contracts.

According to Bloomberg Intelligence Analyst Michael Schettenhelm, he believes the lawsuit is a lost cause for the drivers. “A lower court ruled for Uber, and we don’t expect the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will reverse course,” he wrote.

Both Uber and Lyft stocks rose Wednesday and Thursday as a result of the decision since driver relations is a key area of concern for investors. While this may temporarily help stock prices for both companies, without a true path to profit, the increase is most likely a fluke and will not continue.

Paris Threatens to Ban Escooter Companies From Operating

In an attempt to control the explosion in incidents involving escooters, the city of Paris is threatening to ban all rentals unless companies agree to abide by a code of conduct.

The problem lies not with the companies themselves, but the riders. There are over 15,000 dockless scooters operating in Paris, and the number is poised to double very soon.

Riders are not following city rules regarding scooter use, often riding them on sidewalks instead of city streets. Because rentals can literally be left anywhere, when customers are done, they are leaving them in parking spaces, blocking sidewalks, and even throwing them in the river.

Legislation is in the works to impose stricter fines on riders that fail to follow the rules, but since a majority of riders are tourists, it’s hard to say how much control the government (or the scooter companies) have over the problem.

Waymo Picks Up 1,000th Customer in Self-Driving Taxi Service

It’s tough to be in the autonomous taxi business. Waymo’s self-driving taxi service reported picking up its 1,000th customer two weeks ago.

The Insurance Journal noted that this shows very slow growth for autonomous taxis, but we beg to differ. Yes, it took six months to deliver 1,000 people to and fro, but the service only operates in Phoenix, which is not as densely populated as other US cities.

Once Waymo works out the bugs in its service and starts operating in major markets like San Francisco and Washington, DC, the autonomous taxi sector will grow quickly.

It’s true there is no fully autonomous vehicle in production today, but with innovative companies like Tesla and others hard at work, we’re likely to see this change sooner than we think.

Indian Grocery Delivery Service Lands $200M Investment

On demand grocery delivery startup Grofers scored a $200 million investment round led by Softbank Vision Fund.

The five-year-old company delivers to 13 cities in Indian from over 5,000 stores. This is the largest funding round ever for grocery delivery in India, making Grofers a viable alternative to big box grocery delivery services from Amazon India and Walmart’s Flipkart service.

As grocery on demand services heat up in both the US and abroad, it will be interesting to see if the services will revolutionize the way the world shops. Based on the current landscape, it looks like this is definitely one of the most lucrative sectors.


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10 Autonomous Vehicle Startups That Are Making Waves

Not every startup has the resources and know-how to enter the autonomous vehicle sector. With complex technology and intensive research requirements, self-driving platforms require substantial investment and even more dedication. While large companies like Google’s Waymo, Toyota, and GM Drive work on the latest driverless technology, these plucky startups are giving them a run for their money by developing cutting-edge software and up-to-date self-driving systems.

1. Zoox

While many engineers were fitting sedans and crossover SUVs with autonomous systems, Tim Kentley-Klay and Jesse Levinson of the Stanford Center for Automotive Research decided to build their own unique autonomous vehicle. Quietly launching Zoox in 2014, the two men set about developing a streamlined custom self-driving car. The company’s ambitious designs won it $790 million in backing from Lux Capital and Atlassian founder Mike Cannon Brookes.

2. Bossa Nova Robotics

Other startups concentrate on road-ready vehicles, but Bossa Nova decided to use autonomous car tech to make warehouse robots more efficient and effective. Bossa Nova is the brainchild of David Palmer, a former executive for FedEx, and Sarjoun Skaff, a robotics engineer from Carnegie Mellon University. The two men have developed a system that uses computer vision and facial recognition software to help guide helper robots around big box stores like Walmart. The firm recently completed a $29 million funding round led by Cota Capital.

3. Arbe Robotics

This Israeli startup combines the machine learning expertise of CTO Noam Arkind, the business acumen of CEO Kobi Marenko and the programming skills of COO Oz Fixman. Arbe is laser-focused on developing high definition 4D radar, a technology that has origins in military drones and helps self-driving cars navigate streets safely without a human operator. Arbe has been popular with investors since it launched. It has raised over $20 million, most recently completing a $10 million funding round led by Fausto Boni’s 360 Capital Partners.

4. Nuro

In 2016, Google engineers Jiajin Zhu and Dave Ferguson decided to launch their own autonomous vehicle startup. The company designed a tiny autonomous delivery van to transport groceries, dry cleaning and packages. Nuro recently partnered with Kroger to fulfill same-day grocery delivery and is expected to roll out an entire battery-powered delivery fleet by the end of the year. Investors have given their stamp of approval to the industrious little vans by pumping more than $90 million into Nuro’s coffers.


In 2016, the two-man team team behind left lucrative careers in Baidu’s Autonomous Driving Unit to launch their own self-driving startup. The team quickly rolled out their own auotnomous vehicle system, testing their cars in California and China. After successfully debuting a fleet of autonomous cars in early 2018, the company attracted substantial investment from Chinese VC firms like Legend Capital and Morningside Venture Capital. In 2018 alone, has received over $200 million in investments.

Pony AI test vehicle


6. DeepMap

Mark Wheeler and James Wu had years of experience at Google Maps when they decided to quit in 2016 and start their own mapping startup. Knowing autonomous vehicles would need accurate, up-to-date maps, the two developed high-definition mapping software accurate to the centimeter. Backed by big names like Accel, DeepMap has raised $92 million. The company recently inked a deal with Chinese car manufacturer SAIC Motor to include its technology in SAIC’s new autonomous vehicles.

7. Aurora Labs

After years of working on automation for homes, pets and banking, Zohar Fox decided to turn his attention to self-driving cars. Together with VC maven Ori Lederman, Fox started Aurora Labs in 2016. The company developed its own machine learning tool to help autonomous vehicle systems predict, detect and manage faults without outside input from humans. The Israeli company, which recently completed a $8.4 million Series A funding round, plans to to branch out into the US in the coming year.

8. Voyage

In 2017, University of Nevada researcher MacCallister Higgins saw an opportunity in the startup market for a new autonomous vehicle company that caters to the elderly and disabled. The company’s self-driving vans and sedans were deployed in retirement communities in California and Florida in early 2018. The company also made headlines when it lured tech executives Justin Erlich and Drew Grey away from Uber. Voyage has the backing of Jaguar Land Rover, which raised $15 million for the company in early 2018.

9. Brain Corporation

Founded in 2009 by a pair of neuroscientists, Brain Corporation has developed BrainOS, an autonomous platform that powers self-driving cleaning robots and floor scrubbers. The company’s robots use LIDAR to safely navigate around airports, hotels and big box stores. The company has attracted a bevy of investors, including SoftBank and Qualcomm Ventures, the VC arm of American telecommunications conglomerate Qualcomm.

10. Nauto

The brainchild of Princeton neuroscientist Frederick Soo and Stanford professor Stefan Heck, Nauto was founded in Palo Alto in 2015. The startup has developed tech that helps to reduce collisions caused by distracted driving. The system is designed for commercial drivers and features an advanced collision warning system and in-car collision avoidance training. Nauto has raised more than $170 million from big investors like Softbank and Greylock Partners.

As autonomous vehicles advance by leaps and bounds, these startups are getting the jump on emerging technologies. By relying on well-monied backers and their own technical expertise, these companies are able to use financial capital to fund complex research and transform the modern transportation sector forever.


Getaround Buys Drivy

Tesla Ridesharing, Waymo Plans New Factory, Getaround Buys Drivy

This Week In On Demand― April 26, 2019

This week, a new charging station includes dedicated chargers for ridesharing EVs, Waymo announces its plans to open a self-driving car factory, and Ireland takes a cue from the US and begins questioning how legal eScooters are on its streets.

Waymo Announces Autonomous Car Factory Is Coming to Detroit

After a rocky start in Arizona (literally, people were throwing rocks at them), Waymo announced it was opening a driverless car factory in Detroit sometime this year. The company will be using a repurposed factory so it can get started as early as June 2019.

According to Waymo’s blog, this will be the first factory in the world that’s 100% dedicated to driverless car manufacturing. The Michigan Economic Development Corporation approved an $8 million grant for autonomous car production back in December 2018.

The news comes as a much-needed boost for the Motor City, which has been struggling to regain lost ground after the Great Recession of 2008. As Waymo brings 100 jobs and a capital investment of $13.6 million to the area, we believe that a bright future is in store for Detroit.

EVgo and Maven Unveil New Electric Charging Hub in LA

Electric charging station company EVgo teamed up with Maven (GM’s ridesharing division) and the City of Los Angeles to test a new concept in charging stations.

The charging station includes EV chargers for public use, as well as dedicated chargers strictly for Maven Gig drivers. Maven Gig provides car rentals exclusively for rideshare drivers. This is a first in the country, and if all goes well, EVgo and Maven plan on expanding the program nationwide.

It’s hard to say how successful the program will be. As rideshare drivers continue to contend with pay cuts and legislation that is decreasing the demand for rides, they will likely be unable to afford to rent cars for work. But electric vehicles help with this since there are no fuel costs.

Maven EVgo Charger


Tesla Getting Closer to Unveiling Autonomous Ridesharing Service

Tesla released some details about their plans to open their new car-sharing service, Tesla Network. The company says their tech should be ready to open and drive unsupervised within three years.

Tesla plans to create a ridesharing service that allows owners of the Model 3 to make money by allowing their driverless cars to give rides when they’re not using them. ARK Invest Founder Kathi Wood says that research indicates that Model 3 owners could make up to $10,000 yearly if they “participate fully” in the Tesla Network program.

The Tesla Model 3 costs $45,000. Owners who participate could recoup their investment within five years.

Tesla Network is certainly an innovative way to create a ridesharing service that benefits both drivers and owners. By tapping Model 3 owners, they likely will not have the same labor issues that companies like Lyft and Uber are experiencing right now.

European Car-sharing Service Drivy Bought for $300M

Getaround, a car-sharing service based in San Francisco, bought European car sharing platform Drivy for $300 million this week.

Drivy is headquartered in Paris and touts 2.5 million users in Europe. The acquisition of Drivy by Getaround allows it to significantly expand its customer base in Europe. Getaround now supports car sharing in 300 cities throughout the US and Europe.

At the heart of Getaround’s success is its proprietary technology that lets users immediately locate and unlock cars with their smartphone, similar to what Uber does with its scooter service. This eliminates the hassle of having to meet with the owner to get keys.

As car sharing and ride sharing replace car ownership in major urban markets, companies like Getaround will continue to Thrive.

Ireland Questions the Legality of eScooters on Its Roads

As the mobility and on demand sectors continue to increase in popularity, governments are beginning to examine current legislation to find ways to legislate and tax ride-sharing services and mobility companies.

Ireland is the latest country to begin debating the legality of eScooters.

According to Irish law, it is illegal to drive motorized scooters on the country’s sidewalks. Drivers are also required to have a driver’s license and proper insurance for the vehicles. Police have “turned a blind eye” to the law because it is impossible to find a company willing to write an insurance policy for the vehicles.

While the safety of eScooter rides is constantly being questioned by governments around the world, we don’t believe that this will have any effect on the industry as a whole.

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

Uber S-1 Filing

Uber Files For IPO, Grab Looks to Expand, And Lyft Gets Divvy With It

This Week in Mobility – April 12, 2019

This week, Grab is seeking even more money to expand operations, competition is brimming in the autonomous car industry, and Uber released its S-1 IPO filing.

Uber Files For Likely May IPO

After the market closed Thursday, Uber released its IPO prospectus. The company will list on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker Uber. While Uber lost $1.8 billion in 2018, that was a sharp decrease from the $2.7 billion the company lost in 2017. Uber could be valued in the range of $120 billion, and shares could start trading within a month.

A number of firms look to profit handsomely from the IPO. Softbank’s Vision Fund is Uber’s largest shareholder, owning over 16% of the company, followed by Benchmark Capital, which owns 11% of Uber. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, owns about 5% of Uber, and ousted CEO Travis Kalanick still owns about 8.5% of the company he founded.

As Uber prepares for its upcoming IPO, it has been aggressively expanding in order to prove itself to be profitable. But expansion comes at a cost, and Uber lost over a billion dollars last year. It will be interesting to see if investors respond to Uber more favorably than they did during Lyft’s recent IPO.

Read the full Uber S-1 Filing.

Grab Seeking Further Investment to Expand

Ridehailing giant Grab is raising another $2 billion, primarily from Softbank’s Vision Fund, to fund expansion in Southeast Asia. The company just raised $4.5 billion from its recently concluded Series H round, from a group of investors including Softbank, Toyota, and Hyundai.

According to Grab CEO Anthony Tan, the additional money will be spread equally across its ridesharing, payment, and food delivery services. He states the funds will allow the company to manage the rapid growth that has it on track to be four times larger than its main competitor Go-Jek in Indonesia by the end of the year.

So far, Softbank has invested over $20 billion in ridesharing companies. They are also indirectly connected to Grab competitor Go-Jek through

Uber Launches JUMP Scooters in Baltimore as Bird Doubles Prices

Uber received a touch of good luck this week. The company launched its JUMP scooter service in Baltimore right as its competitor Bird almost doubled its rates nationwide, including Baltimore.

“Similar to ride-hailing, Big Macs and cups of coffee, our pricing now varies by city,” Bird spokeswoman Mackenzie Long said in a statement.

JUMP scooters are free to unlock and cost 15 cents a minute. Bird scooters raised its prices from 15 to 29 cents earlier this week.


Baltimore’s pilot program for dockless scooter sharing currently allows up to six service providers and 12,000 vehicles on its city streets. It’s unclear if those numbers will change when the program ends on April 30.

Though the pilot program ends soon, it’s clear that the city is committed to allowing dockless vehicles to continue operating on city streets. Last month, the City Council approved permanent legislation for both scooters and bikes.

Uber Expands B2B Offerings On Heels of IPO

After several months of beta testing, Uber unveiled its latest B2B offering on Tuesday.

Uber Vouchers is a program that allows businesses to provide free or discounted rides to their customers. The program is available to organizations that already provide transportation services, such as bars, sports teams, and insurance companies.

Companies can send vouchers to their customers digitally, and customers can redeem the vouchers in the Uber app. Unlike other transportation services, organizations only pay for rides after they are redeemed plus relevant administrative fees.

Competition Is Heating Up in the Autonomous Car Industry

The explosion in AI has created a race for monetization in the autonomous car industry. Waymo is the current acknowledged leader when it comes to self-driving cars. However, it has many challengers not just in the U.S. (GM, Tesla), but across Europe and in China.

In China, Baidu, the search engine giant, and, an autonomous vehicle startup, are racing to catch up to the major players in Japan, Europe and the U.S.

While both of them have racked up a significant amount of miles on the road, seems to have a slight edge in miles driven. However, Baidu has partnered with Ford, a self-driving frontrunner. Regardless, both still lag behind Waymo, GM, and Mercedes when it comes to miles driven, as well as underlying technology.

TTTech, a European company that creates autonomous car technology, believes that data sharing is the key to winning the race to mass commercialization of autonomous cars. They believe that sharing data with everyone will change transportation as we know it. TTTech is familiar with the advances by Tesla, but believe its solution will overtake Tesla.

Whoever wins the race, it’s likely to be several years before autonomous vehicles are commonplace in most cities.

Lyft Receives Green Light to Take Over Chicago’s Divvy Bikesharing Program

Lyft was officially approved to take over the Divvy Bikesharing program on Monday, and Uber is uber-unhappy about the deal.

Uber lobbyists spent a significant amount of money on misinformation about the upcoming contract award, including a full-page ad in the Chicago Sun-Times stating the contract should not be exclusive. This information is false, as the contract was up for bid in 2012.

In 2018, Lyft bought Motivate, the company that won the original contract in 2012. In response to Uber’s lobbying to be able to bid on the Divvy contract again, Chicago Department of Transportation Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld stated that they chose to continue with Lyft because the program will remain in public control.

The new contract will expand Divvy citywide to 800 docking stations and 16,500 bikes by 2021.

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


Optimus Ride New York

Uber Raising $1B, Optimus Primes NYC and Waymo Announces a New Fleet Center

This Week In On Demand― March 21, 2019

This week, NYC gets its first autonomous shuttle service, more transit authorities are looking to ridesharing partnerships to fill gaps in service, and UberEats invests in real estate.

Self Driving Shuttle Coming to New York City

MIT-based company Optimus Ride is bringing New York City’s first driverless shuttle program to private roads in New York City. The shuttle provides rides for ferry passengers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard to an industrial center with over 400 businesses.

Current New York legislation allows autonomous vehicle testing and trials on roads with a permit from the DMV, but this permit is expiring next month. The loop shuttle service is different than autonomous vehicles operating on public roads. These vehicles carry multiple passengers and operate on the same route daily.

The public is generally opposed to autonomous vehicle programs on public roads, especially after Uber made headlines when one of its driverless fleet struck and killed an Arizona woman. By providing driverless vehicle services in private communities, Optimus Ride is working to change the public perception of autonomous vehicles. This smart move will hopefully pay off: they are also heading similar programs in private communities in Washington, DC and California.

ButterFLi Grant Provides Ridesharing Services to Disabled LA Residents

The LA Department of Transportation provided a grant to help Angelinos with accessibility issues get reduced fare rides in downtown LA. Ridesharing service ButterFLi provides rides during times when public transit services are not readily available. The grant allows eligible riders to receive $2 rides within an 8-mile service area eight times per month through FlexLA, a ridesharing pilot program.

As government transit authorities contend with aging fleets, high maintenance costs, and a lack of services during late night hours, partnering with ridesharing companies provide an easier alternative to handling services in-house. Though the current trend is to use larger companies like Lyft and Uber, smaller ridesharing companies like ButterFLi that win these transit contracts enjoy more consistent revenue and brand awareness.

Uber Raising $1B in Advance of IPO for Autonomous Program

In advance of its April IPO, Uber is in talks to raise $1 billion for its autonomous vehicle unit. Part of the money is likely coming from Softbank. The capital would provided a much-needed injection to the company, as many have questioned the progress in their driverless car program. TechCrunch estimates Uber has spent as much as $20 million per month on the program.

If Uber is able to raise the money, their autonomous vehicle program, which includes the Freight program that’s launching in Europe, would be valuated at $10 billion. The company itself is valuated at $70 billion, even with net losses up 32% quarter-over-quarter late last year.

Uber’s upcoming IPO gives investors an incentive to sink capital into the company. The move is a win for everyone; if the deal goes through before the IPO, it will make the company more attractive to buyers during the IPO.

Waymo Opening New Fleet Center in Mesa, Arizona

Waymo is opening a new 85,000 square foot center to service its Waymo One self-driving cars in Mesa, Arizona.

Waymo self driving vehicle on road.


The move makes sense since it began operating its on demand driverless car service in Phoenix in December. Business is booming for Waymo. They’ve received approval to open a manufacturing facility in Michigan and are allegedly in talks to open a driverless taxi service.

A survey from AAA shows that Americans are still uneasy about autonomous cars. 71% of respondents said they were afraid to ride in driverless cars.

Waymo provides a human backup driver in the car, which helps ease the fears of new riders. A report by the California DMV shows Waymo’s cars needed less human intervention in 2018 than prior years. With human intervention required once every 11,154 miles, Waymo’s cars are the safest. By continuing to encourage the use of on demand driverless car services, companies like Waymo can improve the perception of autonomous vehicles on city streets.

UberEats Investing in Real Estate for Food Delivery

secret pilot program by UberEats in Paris shows the company is now in the real estate business.

Bloomberg reports the company is leasing vacant real estate and turning them into commercial kitchens for the sole purpose of food delivery.

The program rents these “ghost kitchens” to restaurants to use as satellite locations for food delivery only. The catch? UberEats provides the delivery services.

Uber isn’t the only one in the game. Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick operates a similar company, CloudKitchens, part of a larger real estate company, City Storage Systems. The biggest difference is that CloudKitchens buys distressed real estate instead of leasing it. Unlike UberEats, which provides delivery service through its app, CloudKitchens customers have the freedom to use as many delivery providers as they choose. The service also provides labor at the locations, requiring restaurants to drop off food and CloudKitchens does the rest.

CloudKitchens is already operating in LA, with plans to expand into Chicago soon.

Not only does this provide a way for restaurants to expand operations without taking on the burden of opening a new location, new restaurant owners can enter into markets with less overhead.