Tag Archive: Uber

Didi Chuxing’s acquisition of Uber’s China business last week reshapes the landscape in Asia’s growing ride-hailing sector, and leaves India’s Ola more vulnerable to attack by Uber in its $12 billion (roughly Rs. 80,232 crores) home market.

Four months ago, Ola executives met with Didi hoping the Chinese firm would invest fresh capital to help it fight Uber Technologies Inc which, with its deeper pockets, has made rapid inroads into India.

They were told Didi wanted first to sort out its own challenges in China, said a person with direct knowledge of Ola’s plans. Didi and Uber have raised and spent billions of dollars in a discount slugfest to win drivers, passengers and market share in China.

Didi, now worth around $35 billion, last year invested about $30 million in Ola, which is also backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group, and the two are allies in an anti-Uber group that also includes US-based Lyft and Southeast Asia-focused Grab.

“This (Didi/Uber China) deal changes the dynamics of how they (Didi) will invest in India,” said the person, who didn’t want to be named because the discussions were private. If Didi invests more in Ola, it’s effectively betting against Uber, its new partner in China, the person said.
It’s not clear whether Didi would provide equity or debt to Ola, which has raised around $1.3 billion in funding and is valued at over $5 billion. SoftBank Capital, Ola’s key investor, faces its own financial issues and is selling assets to raise cash and reduce debt, which may pose another fundraising challenge for Ola, which was aiming to raise another $1 billion this year.

Ola did not respond to an email request for comment. Didi said in an email that it will focus in the coming months on “ensuring smooth integration internally.” It did not comment on its meeting with Ola. Didi has no immediate overseas investment plans, said a person with direct knowledge of the matter.

The stakes are high in India, already one of the world’s fastest growing taxi markets. Ola and Uber have burnt through investors’ money and clashed in legal battles over alleged dirty-tricks tactics and pricing.

After the Didi deal, Uber is even more focussed on India, which it has previously called its No. 2 priority overseas market, doubling down on resources, staffing and technology deployed there, said two people familiar with Uber’s plans, one of whom is based in the United States.

Mission India
Ola, founded by two graduates from India’s premier technology institute, commands half of the country’s taxi market as of end-June in terms of the number of cars registered on its platform, according to Counterpoint Research, with Uber on around 30 percent market share, and catching fast.

Uber has previously launched a bike taxi and autos service in India – a sign that it wants to localize transport options and a lesson from China where it focussed on privately-owned cars in big cities, where car ownership has historically been low.

Uber declined to comment for this article.

In February, Uber opened an engineering centre in Bengaluru and has, according to LinkedIn, brought in ex-Google executive Apurva Dalal to lead its India product build. It has also hired more than three dozen engineers in India in six months and plans to add dozens more by the end of the year, said one of the people familiar with Uber’s plans.

Two executives heading Uber’s mapping efforts, Brian McClendon and Manik Gupta, visited India in June to work on making the Uber app more localised and boosting the mapping capabilities, the other, US-based, individual said.

While Uber has pushed into cities and markets worldwide, Ola operates only in its home market. Ola is in 102 cities versus Uber’s 27, according to Counterpoint, and offers a wider range of products – from auto rickshaws to shuttle buses, as well as taxi rides.

The Didi/Uber deal “will put Ola in a corner, and the pressure will rise,” said Neil Shah, research director at Counterpoint. “The money Ola has will not last forever and it will require a lot of funding with Uber gaining financial strength.”

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)


Daimler will deepen its European footprint in the ride-hailing business when its MyTaxi smartphone app unveils an all-share merger deal with UK rival Hailo as soon as Tuesday, three sources briefed on the matter told Reuters.



It is the latest push by traditional carmakers to enter the taxi ride hailing services market dominated by technology companies like Uber. In similar deals earlier this year, Volkswagen took a $300 million stake in Gett and General Motors invested $500 million into Lyft.

Hailo is strong in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and will combine its business with Daimler’s MyTaxi giving the German carmaker a majority stake in the combined business, two sources, who declined to be named, told Reuters.

The sources declined to be identified because the matter is still confidential.

Sky News was first to report the potential combination of MyTaxi and Hailo.


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Using smartphone sensors to peek over its drivers’ shoulders, Uber is promising to keep a closer eye on their behavior – while discouraging speeding or slamming on the brakes.



The global ride-hailing company on Wednesday announced an extensive test of new software that aims to increase safety by analyzing data from individual drivers and sending them daily reports about things like sudden acceleration, braking and whether they’re holding their phones when they drive.

Trucking companies and fleet operators collect similar information, while some auto insurers offer a discount to motorists who install a data-collection device in their cars. Uber, which is requiring drivers in several cities to participate, is eager to show that it’s making safety a priority at a time when some jurisdictions are mulling whether to impose stricter oversight on ride-hailing businesses.

At the same time, Uber is also trying to ease some strains in its relationship with drivers, who work as independent contractors and in some cases have sued Uber over pay and working conditions. Earlier this month, Uber modified its app to give drivers more discretion to reject rides at certain times and to charge passengers who keep them waiting.

For now, Uber says it isn’t using the new safety program to penalize drivers – or even to reward good driving habits – although the software measures some of the same behaviors that the company says are often cited by passengers when they give drivers a low rating. Repeated low ratings can lead to drivers being suspended from the service.

One part of the new program uses data from the same gyroscope and motion sensors that let smartphone users play games on their devices. Uber drivers already use a smartphone app to book rides and track their progress via GPS. By adding additional software to the app, Uber says it can measure a car’s movement and gauge how fast the driver accelerates or brakes.

The software sends a daily summary to each driver, including a count of how often the driver has sped up or hit the brakes too abruptly. But it’s an automated process: Uber says the software’s not intended to trigger human intervention in the case of a driver who’s dangerously erratic. Instead, the company says passengers should use the “help” button on its app.

San Francisco-based Uber will also use sensors to measure “phone movement,” which may indicate the driver is clutching the phone while steering. Since that can be a distraction, Uber says it will notify drivers if it detects excessive phone movement through the day, with a reminder that it’s safer to leave the phone in a mounting device. As it tests this program, Uber may also send passengers an email or text, asking if their driver was holding the phone.

A third feature will send drivers a notice immediately if they’re traveling at excessive speed, although for now, the notice will only be triggered if a car is moving more than 15 miles per hour above the posted limit on highways. A fourth program will send generic reminders to drivers about the benefits of taking a rest break.

Uber says it’s testing the new features in a handful of large cities. About half of its drivers in each test city will get the new software, so the company can compare their behavior with the half that don’t receive the notifications. After two months, the company says it will evaluate the results and decide whether to expand the programs.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Didi Chuxing has raised $4.5 billion in a round of funding that values it at close to $28 billion, according to people familiar with the situation, giving China’s leading ride-sharing company more firepower to battle Uber Technologies Inc.



Didi’s newly earned valuation would make it the world’s third-largest privately backed young company, surpassing Airbnb Inc. Didi was valued at $16.5 billion last year. It closed its latest round of funding with the help of Apple and prominent Chinese investors, including the nation’s top life insurer, according to the people, who didn’t want to be identified because the deal is private.

The Beijing-based company also snagged a $2.5 billion debt package from China Merchants Bank on top of the fundraising, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier, citing a person familiar with the matter. Didi declined to comment via email Wednesday.

Didi, which has formed a global coalition with Lyft in US, India’s Ola and Southeast Asia’s Grab, is trying to fend off an aggressive charge by Uber onto its home turf. Both companies are amassing cash and spending aggressively to expand in the world’s second-largest economy, partly by subsidizing the costs of rides.

Backed by Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings China’s two most valuable technology companies Didi is targeting an initial public offering in New York next year, people familiar with the matter have said. The timing depends on how the tussle with Uber plays out, the people said.

Uber is spending at least $1 billion a year in China and has raised capital there that, as of January, valued the Chinese operations at $7 billion. It recently raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund the single biggest investment in the company to date. That capital infusion brought the total of Uber’s latest financing round to $5 billion. San Francisco-based Uber, valued at almost $68 billion, is the most valuable closely held company. Xiaomi Corp., at $46 billion, is No. 2, according to data from research firm CB Insights.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

The price wars continue in India, as Uber Delhi cut its rate to just Rs. 6 per kilometre, the same as Ola Micro, which is still being advertised on television as the cheapest cab you can get. Starting from June 13, UberGo fares in Delhi have been brought down to Rs. 6 per kilometre, down from Rs. 8 per kilometre. However, it’s worth noting that Uber’s fares are not the same in every city – as Gadgets 360 had earlier reported, Uber was charging Rs. 6 per kilometre in Chennai already, and Rs. 7 per kilometre in Bengaluru.



An Ola Micro charges Rs. 6 per kilometre with a minimum fare of Rs. 40, and charges Rs. 1 per minute. UberGo has matched these terms in Delhi. Now, you can go from Rajiv Chowk to the airport for Rs. 185, or from Saket to Cyber City for Rs. 195, according to Uber.

This announcement comes in the wake of fresh funding for Uber – the company raised $3.5 billion dollars, and said it plans to spend a significant amount of this money on India.

Rival Ola has been expanding in a number of different directions, while Uber has been facing legal troubles in India, and around the world, with cases in France, in Germany, the US, and more.

This rate cut shows that despite everything, Uber retains the financial muscle to compete at a local level globally, but it raises questions about how sustainable these rates really are.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

TomTom , the Dutch navigation company, said on Wednesday it had won a contract to provide Volvo Cars with real-time maps and traffic data for its vehicles.

A TomTom navigation device is seen in this photo illustration taken in Amsterdam February 28, 2012.  REUTERS/Robin van Lonkhuysen/United Photos/Files


Terms were not disclosed, but the contract is a major win for TomTom, which competes with Google Maps and Here, the former Nokia unit now owned by Audi, BMW and Daimler.

TomTom, once known mostly for dashboard-mounted GPS systems, has won a string of contracts for its mapping technology, which it believes will play an important role as car driving becomes increasingly automated.

Other TomTom customers include Volkswagen, Uber and Apple.

TomTom’s shares are down more than 30 percent so far this year, declining sharply during the January market sell-off and again in February after issuing a forecast for 5 percent sales growth in 2016 that fell short of market expectations.


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

On a day the ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect, taxi aggregator Uber on Sunday brought back surge pricing in Delhi, prompting Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal to warn the operators of “strong action”.



Uber had introduced the provision during odd-even scheme, which was objected to by commuters and Kejriwal had asserted that such demand-linked hikes would be banned permanently.

A day after the second phase of odd-even ended, commuters across the city, who availed the services of the app-based cab firm Sunday, found that surge pricing, where fares are raised when demand is higher than the available cabs, was back.

When contacted, an Uber spokesperson confirmed the development saying that suspension of surge pricing was only a “temporary” measure.

Uber’s move came on a day a ban on diesel-run cabs came into effect in Delhi, affecting nearly 27,000 vehicles.

“Some taxis hv started charging surge. Surge not allowed under law. They r warned that strong action will be taken against them,” Kejriwal tweeted.

A senior Delhi government official said that action will be taken against these companies based on complaints.

“We will impound their cabs,” the official said. While an immediate confirmation could be obtained from Ola, another app-based service, its app displayed a message saying peak time charges may be applicable during high demand hours and will be conveyed during the booking which “enables us to make more cabs available to you”.

Ola displayed the disclaimer during the odd-even period as well although it did not invoke peak-pricing till Saturday.

The Delhi government had cracked its whip on these companies on the first week of the second phase of odd-even after Kejriwal termed the concept as “daylight robbery”.

The authorities had also impounded cabs for overpricing.


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Bengaluru-based transportation aggregator Ola and its investors Matrix Partners India have categorically denied a report that appeared in DNA on Friday, which alleged that certain investors in Ola plan to sell their stake to Uber.



The news report, based on information from an unnamed source alleged that Uber was acquiring stakes of all the investors, including the founders, except SoftBank, with a term sheet likely to be signed by this quarter.

“We would like to state that the article, attributed to an ‘unnamed source’ is completely false, misleading, malicious and planted in the said newspaper with the intent of causing harm to the Ola brand and creating confusion among our stakeholders.” a statement from Ola said.

Ola slammed the publication for its lack of journalistic ethics, and said that it will initiate appropriate legal action and seek redressal and compensation from the newspaper for the damage caused due to the report. “We also had received a verbal confirmation that the report shall not be carried given the company’s denial,” Ola said.

“It cannot be further from the truth that Uber is attempting to take a stake in Ola. No such discussions have taken place and even if we are approached anytime in the future, we have no intentions of selling to Uber,” said Avnish Bajaj, Managing Director of Matrix Partners India, one of the board members, and early investors in Ola. He added that just one taxi category – Ola Micro – is likely to yield a higher turnover than all of Uber’s operations in India, and that he had no doubts about the future of Ola.

Ola Micro, a new class of cabs launched in March this year offers rides at Rs. 6 per kilometre, and is currently available in 13 cities across India.



Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Uber and Lyft are eviscerating the taxi industry in Los Angeles three years after they began operating in the city, officials say.



Thanks to the ridesharing services, which enable independent drivers to offer rides via a smartphone application, “taxicab service demand indicators have dropped (total trips and dispatch trips) beginning in the second half of 2013 and increasing through 2015,” according to a report by Department of Transportation seen by AFP on Thursday.

The number of taxi trips arranged in advance has dropped 42 percent while the total number of taxi rides has plunged by a third in the country’s second-largest city, the report said.

“The trips now taken by Uber, Lyft and other types of transportation network company services would likely have the greatest impact on the dispatched taxicab services and other private client taxi orders,” it added.

Uber and Lyft are revolutionizing getting around in Los Angeles, a city famous for its highways where public transportation is widely criticized as inadequate.

Licenced taxi drivers – who must pay to rent their cars and dispatch services and face strict regulations – are struggling to compete with ride-sharing services that are easier and cheaper to use.

They accuse the ridesharing companies of routinely disregarding laws, failing to provide adequate security and being willing to undercut them on wages.

“With the trend of this ‘loss of trips’ the city may need to review some of its regulations,” Los Angeles Department of Transportation spokesman Bruce Gillman said, adding that the industry is also adapting.

“Taxicab companies are embracing technology for example, developing apps, and have had on-line reservation/dispatching systems for a while,” he said.

Although taxi drivers are earning less, their number in Los Angles has remained constant at almost 2,400, Gillman said, adding that some taxis may not be used as much as before.

Their concerns have spread worldwide as Uber has expanded to hundreds of cities and more than 60 countries, drawing opposition from the taxi industry and regulators and sometimes violent protests.

A court in Buenos Aires on Wednesday ordered Uber to suspend service and launched an inquiry into whether the app poses unfair competition a day after the service began operating in the Argentine capital.

Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)

Uber, the smartphone app that connects riders and drivers, launched Tuesday in Buenos Aires without authorization, triggering protests by taxi drivers who blocked major avenues and snarled traffic.



“The Uber smartphone app will be available as of 4:00 hours today Buenos Aires time, and can be downloaded at the App Store,” the San Francisco-based company said on Twitter.

Although ride-hailing apps have risen rapidly to become a booming industry, they face stiff resistance from traditional taxis and bans over safety concerns and questions about legal issues including taxes.

Taxi drivers often complain that Uber drivers do not pay for permits or taxes; Uber argues it is not a transport company like taxi firms – just an app.

“What they are doing is illegal. They are not delivering transport under existing laws,” Buenos Aires transport chief Juan Jose Mendez told TN television.

The Argentine capital’s sprawl engulfs 13 million people, and millions more commute in and out every day.

The city alone has some 38,000 taxis.

Uber does not employ drivers or own vehicles, but uses private contractors with their own cars instead, allowing them to run their own businesses.

Licensed taxi drivers, who must undergo hundreds of hours of training in some countries, accuse Uber of endangering their jobs by flooding the market with cheaper drivers who need only a GPS to get around.


Source : (gadgets.ndtv.com)