Uber is a transportation network company, well-known for its ride-hailing taxi app.
The company has since become synonymous with disruptive technology, with the taxi app having swept the world, transforming transportation and giving a different business model, dubbed uberisation, to the world.
The pick-up location on the Uber journey started in 2009, when Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick founded ‘UberCab’, the first iteration of today’s popular app. Interest was seen early on, with the company receiving $200,000 seed funding in 2009, adding an additional $1.25m funding in 2010.
Following a beta release in 2010, Uber officially launched in 2011 in San Francisco. By the end of this year, an astonishing $44.5m had been raised in funding and the company had made the move to today’s Uber moniker.
From that initial launch in San Francisco, Uber started its global take-over, expanding to a new US city every month from May 2011. Its first international launch was Paris in 2011, quickly followed by Toronto, London, Sydney, and Johannesburg.
Today, Uber is available in over 60 countries and over 400 cities worldwide. The driving force behind this expansion and adoption was, of course, the technology and the business model.
Taking the first core element, technology, Uber relies on app software and smartphones. Put simply, you install the Uber app on your smartphone, set a pick-up point and destination from a map and then tap to request an Uber driver.
You have a choice of cars ranging from standard to luxury, while the driver’s name, number plate and car are visible when they are on their way. Due to the GPS and map capabilities of the app, you are given a fare estimate, estimated time of arrival and shown the route the driver will take. In short, everything is transparent.
At the end of the trip, there is no need to hand over any cash as payments are taken from debit or credit cards stored in the app itself. There are also other additional features such as splitting fares with friends, connecting your smartphone music playlist to some car stereos and sharing your route with family and friends.