With UberPOOL Launch, Uber Accelerates Investment Mode
Uber, the smartphone app that is transforming the way the world travels today has announced the launch of its innovative product uberPOOL in three more Indian cities - Hyderabad, Kolkata and Mumbai. UberPOOL enables people going the same way at the same time to share their journey–bringing carpooling at the tap of a button. Close on the heels of a $3.5 billion fund raise, Uber said it is on an “investment mode” in the country and will continue to spend on bringing in more customized offerings.
More people in fewer cars means cheaper rides for passengers and less congestion over time. Since the launch of UberPOOL in Delhi and Bangalore just over 6 months ago, 25 per cent of all trips in the two cities are now on UberPOOL.
Announcing the launch Amit Jain, President Uber India said, “We are excited to bring carpooling at the push of a button to three more cities in India. Uber is committed to bringing innovative urban mobility options that will help reduce congestion and pollution in our cities over time. Getting more people in fewer cars results in riders having to pay less and also drivers spending less idle time between rides. It is a simple yet powerful example of how we can use technology to transform our cities”
The company, which counts India as its third biggest market after the US and China, said it saw 26 times growth in the country in 2015 compared to the previous year.
“We are on investment mode in India. Every country is different and you have to customize in every market, even as the technology back bone remains the same. We have customized the app to work on low network conditions, we introduced cash payment here, which was a global first,” Uber India president Amit Jain told.
In July last year, Uber had announced an investment of $1 billion (nearly INR 6,652 crore) in India to expand its services here. It has also set up a response and support centre in Hyderabad with an investment of $50 million.
It has also started leasing cars to driver partners, an addition to its balance sheet, as it looks to attract more driver partners to its platform in the country.
Earlier this week, Uber had raised $3.5-billion (nearly INR 23,284 crore) funding from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund.
Jain said a “substantial portion” of the fresh funding would come to India. “With this investment, we have more than $11 billion in our global war chest to invest in our product and markets to grow and compete,” Jain said.
The funds will help the US-based firm compete head-on with local rival, Ola, which is backed by investors like Japanese firm SoftBank and China’s Didi Kuaidi .
Last year, Uber made $1 billion in profits from its top 30 cities of operations, Jain said without disclosing the names of the cities.
Uber is available in over 400 cities across 70 countries. In India, it is available in 27 cities, more than any other country outside the US and China.
“We are engaged with government across levels to ensure compliance and are committed to ensuring growth for driver partners and smooth experience for customers,” he said.
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