After a late night playing poker at a friend’s place in Sengkang, it was time to head home. However, the area we were in is rather secluded and our host recommended that we call a cab. Desperate to try new and disruptive technology, I refused and suggested that we use Uber. We may be 30 year old uncles but… man, we are hip uncles, yo. So hip uncles like us must get on with new technology and keep up-to-date with the trends. Afterall, YOLO bitchez…*gangsta sign*.
I am sorry that was awkward.
But the point is, I have been very into this whole sharing economy concept and with the newspapers and online articles always writing about Uber, I took this opportunity to test its services.
I logged into the app, and google maps zeroed in on my position. Straightaway, a message appeared telling me that Steven Cheong was coming to pick me up in 5mins. That was it! No annoying telephone operators. No putting you on the waiting line. No asking you to press one for English. Whip out my phone, press a few buttons and a car was on the way to pick us up! I felt like I just summoned the freaking Batmobile!
I was excited. Who is Steven Cheong? Who is this man who drives part-time late at night for Uber? What does he do in the day time? What is his real job?
In the most anti-climatic moment, a Comfort cab pulled up in front of us and Mr Steven Cheong told us to get in dryly.
“Uncle, I thought Uber is for part-time drivers?” I asked, unable to contain my disappointment.
The taxi driver explained to me that in Singapore, no part-time drivers are allowed. The Uber app is used by taxi drivers in Singapore and the fares are the same as a normal taxi. He even went on to compare Uber and GrabTaxi and said that Uber’s app was actually more user-friendly. That’s interesting… I remembered that Uber was supposed to IPO some time this year. (Sorry GrabTaxi!)
We reached our destination. I didn’t even have to take out my wallet to pay cash. Uber takes care of the payment by deducting it straight from my credit card. The next day, when I check my email, I realised that I was given a $10 coupon for my first Uber ride. And the coolest part is, I get to customise the coupon link and share it on social media for others. Talk about network effect! Damn, these guys at Uber really know what is sleek marketing! So for all you readers of the Bf Gf Money Blog who may be taking cab later in the night, here’s the link to sign up and get $10 off your first ride:
Yes, it our duty at the Bf Gf Money Blog to help our readers save money. So if you haven’t subscribed to us, please do it after reading this article. You have no idea what other savings you are missing out on…
The story behind Uber is pretty cool. Garret Camp and Travis Kalanick (in the photo above) were hanging out with each other in Paris after attending a conference. Camp had just sold Stumble Upon to Ebay for $75M and Kalanick had just sold Red Swoosh to Akaimai for $15M. Camp told Kalanick that his next big idea was to tackle the cab problem in San Francisco, where getting stranded in the streets with no cab in sight was a common problem for someone living in that city. The two experienced entrepreneurs got together, executed the idea, and the world has changed ever since.
Within a span of only 4 years, Uber is now in 56 countries and boasts its revenue in San Francisco to be $500M, more than 3 times the revenue of the San Francisco cab industry. Uber is now valued at about $40B, after rounds of funding and leaked reports claiming that their revenue will hit $10B for the year 2015. It has received countless bad press about their drivers knocking down and killing pedestrians, their drivers in India raping the passengers, and even Uber’s own staff suggesting that they run a smear campaign against reporters who bad mouth the company. There was also news about Uber trying to poach drivers off their rivals Lyft.
Despite all these bad PR, the Uber growth story is mindblowing. Kalanick reveals some statistics about Uber:
Uber’s revenues in San Francisco are still growing at about 200% per year.
- Uber’s rides in San Francisco are growing 3X per year
- Uber’s rides in New York are growing 4X per year
- Ubers’ rides in London are growing 5-6X per year
Overall, Uber’s revenue grew at 300% in 2014 and is expected to be 300% also for this year.
Uber is looking to IPO in 2015-2016. Investors are probably drooling at this prospect. With all the hype, Uber’s IPO may be even bigger than Ali Baba.
I am personally very interested, but I always feel that IPOs tend to be over-hyped and do not really offer much value to the average retail investor. Anyways, I will be watching out for Uber’s IPO and valuation when the time comes, but for now, I am thoroughly convinced that the sharing economy is here to stay.
In case you missed it, here’s our coupon link again:
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