Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies, was interviewed by
editor in chief Arnie Weissmann for his thoughts on what 2019 might bring:
disconnect that we observe between our businesses today and what the
capital markets are anticipating, broadly speaking. By all accounts, the
consumer today is healthy and continues to spend, but clearly the
markets, combined with the interest rate environment, are indicating an
expectation that a slowdown is ahead.
But we don't observe that in
our business. While we haven't been through too many cycles, our
business is somewhat recession resistant; our ability to tap into driver
supply can be at odds with strong economies and low unemployment, which
makes it harder to recruit drivers. Our biggest challenge is to bring
more driver partners onto the platform in the U.S., where unemployment
is at the lowest it's been for the last 10 years.
There are a number
of countries where for various reasons -- most of them regulatory -- we
haven't yet established service at scale. But with our new approach and
dialogue with governments, we're starting to make headway. Top on my
list are Germany, where we're expanding the number of cities in which we
operate, and Japan, where we're looking to establish a taxi-friendly
model, which is different from our historical approach.
competition is car ownership, and we are essentially solving every
use-case that might have entailed a car through our on-demand services.
is our service, and trying to eliminate car ownership is both a tall
task and a giant opportunity. We're adding businesses such as Eats and
bikes and scooters. Eats is over 50% of the overall business, our
fastest-growing scale business, growing at over 100% on a year-on-year
basis. We're constantly looking at adjacencies, but at this point I want
the team to focus on the core, which is restaurant delivery in under 30
minutes, every single time.
We [recently] announced the launch of
Uber Bus in Egypt. In the developing world, millions of riders take
minibuses that carry 15 or fewer people. It's a cash business, and often
the quality and safety are not where they need to be.
extends Uber Pool technology to the next level, where we can get 15
people into a vehicle. We may have you walk a couple of blocks or wait a
couple of minutes. When we talk about Uber being available to anyone
anywhere, this is a key component.
Essentially, we're going down the
line into any way you want to get from A to B. Through Uber Elevate,
we're developing vertical takeoff and landing vehicles -- we believe
they'll be electric -- designed for intracity transport. We think it's
just a matter of time before you'll be able to take an air taxi to the
airport instead of waiting an hour and a half in traffic.
We hope to
be back on the road [soon with autonomous vehicles], back to training
our robot drivers. 2018 was a tough year, but the team has taken the
opportunity to refocus on how we develop product. And in 2019, we hope
to have some miles on the road and robot drivers that are continuing to
learn and, hopefully, to be a complement to our networks going forward.
pickup and drop-off is a segment that's near and dear to my heart. It
has the potential for significant improvement as it relates to our
service, particularly in terms of scheduled pickups. We have upped our
investment in our airport product, and hopefully you will see a
radically improved product in 2019 and beyond.
We've had Uber for
Business for about four years, and we think that's another category that
has real potential. I think we can improve our sales processes and
continue to improve the product in terms of how it integrates into
corporate expense environments.
We also have Uber Freight, where
we're looking to bring our technology to the freight brokerage business.
We think that can create lots and lots of efficiencies and, ultimately,
a better experience for shippers.
[Regarding recent legislation
establishing a minimum wage for Uber and Lyft drivers in New York], we
certainly haven't seen eye-to-eye with New York City in some areas, but
overall, I think that our relationships with governments and cities
continue to get better. We're constantly in dialog with local
governments, city mayors. We are the ultimate local company, and we are
helping global economies.
Our potential IPO is just one step in the
development journey of our company. A ton of people have worked
incredibly hard to get us here, and we do feel that an IPO sometime in
2019 is an appropriate next step for the capitalization of the company.