Startup Profile: Uber

  • Uber is a multinational transportation network company
  • The company was founded by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009 with the first ever ride taking place in San Francisco in 2010
  • Uber services run in 63 countries, 785 metropolitan areas


About Uber

The idea was born in December 2008 when the pair couldn’t get a taxi in Paris. Uber services launched in Paris just three years later. UberPool launched in 2014 allowing riders heading in the same direction to share a trip and the cost. Other services include food delivery through Uber Eats, Shipping through Uber Freight and a micro mobility system with electric bikes and scooters.


Uber Faces Challenges

Uber reported a loss of more than $1 billion in the third quarter of 2019, creating increasing pressure from shareholders to offload underperforming businesses. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said recently that Uber Eats would get out of markets in which it struggles against the competition to claim a Number 1 or Number 2 position. The company announced last week that it would sell its food delivery business in India to local rival Zomato, adding to the list of unsuccessful operations in Russia, China and Southeast Asia.

Most recently, Uber suffered from losing its monopoly on McDonald’s’ delivery within the UK. Uber Eats rival Just Eat announced on Tuesday that it would become McDonald’s’ second delivery partner. This is another massive blow for Uber Eats. According to analysts, Mcdonald’s orders account for half of the 30 million orders processed by Uber Eats each year in the UK.

Previously, Mcdonald’s delivered exclusively through Uber Eats.

Meanwhile, Uber continues to appeal for its city license that was revoked last year. The potential loss of London business is critical as the company estimates that up to 25% of its ride-hailing bookings in the UK come from within London.

Uber in 2020

Uber stock has risen from $29 to $38 per share since the beginning of the year.

This year, Uber is testing a new feature in California, allowing some drivers to control their own rates. Currently, drivers can increase ride fares to up to five times the base rate. Riders match automatically with the driver offering the lowest fare. Uber says it will also begin to allow drivers to decrease their prices lower than the base rate in the next few days. This feature aims to give drivers more control. 

This month, Uber also obtained licensing approval to operate in Vancouver, following an eight-year lobbying process.

Driverless Uber 


Pilot models of the self-driving Uber car can be seen at the Uber Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Uber has plans to launch driverless cars in areas of cities calculated to show the best weather conditions and demand. The project aims to help Uber lower costs and impress investors. 

Currently, Uber’s self-driving unit, the ATG, is valued at over $7 billion – more than 10% of Uber’s entire market capitalisation. Fully autonomous vehicles lower the cost of a ride drastically, saving Uber an estimated 80% of the total per-mile cost. Self-driving Uber cars can already be seen, testing on roads in Pittsburgh.