Uber erupted onto the global stage in the early 2010s as the most aggressive of a new breed of digital disrupters, overturning traditional service models with an economic model underpinned by innovative technology. In Uber's case it was to transform the established taxi-hailing business with an easy-to-use app that seamlessly connected riders with drivers anywhere in the world. Founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp first began testing the service in 2010 in San Francisco. After several refinements, and multiple injections of investment capital, Uber launched officially in that city and in New York the following year. A full global roll-out began in 2012, starting in Paris, and by mid-2017, Uber's taxi service was active in more than 630 cities worldwide. The company surpassed 1 billion rides at the beginning of 2016, and then 2 billion rides only six months later. There are also a number of spin-off services including carpool shared rides, bicycle messengers and restaurant deliveries. The company has also invested heavily in partnerships with auto manufacturers to explore the introduction of self-driving cars. More seriously, though, there have also been a series of ever more bruising run-ins with regulators, rivals, and even the company's own investors, prompted in part by Uber's aggressive, male-dominated workplace culture which usually chose to ride roughshod over any perceived opposition. These problems began to reach crisis point during the second half of 2016 as a result of damaging allegations of sexual and verbal harassment, the abrupt resignation or dismissal of several senior managers, and Uber's forced withdrawal from several key markets as a result of competitive pressure or regulatory bans. Mid-2017, Uber's private equity backers demanded that co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick step down from the company. His successor Dara Khosrowshahi is faced with a number of key challenges as he attempts to prepare the business for a likely IPO in 2018 or 2019. Yet Uber's revenues continue to soar. Gross bookings doubled in 2016 to over $20bn, and then rose by another 50% in 2017 to over $35bn. Net revenues were just under $7.4bn for the latter year, but the group still reported a net loss of $4.5bn. Adbrands doesn't offer a business profile for this company but subscribers may access account assignments and contact information. The searchable account assignments database is available to full subscribers to Adbrands.net premium services. Click here to access Adbrands account assignments (subscribers only); or see here for information on how to subscribe.
Capsule checked 27th September 2017
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Recent stories from Adbrands Weekly Update:
Adbrands Weekly Update 27th Sep 2018: Ads of the Week "See You Soon". Uber's global rehabilitation drive continues with this fine spot from Australian indie Special Group. It's a clever move to dispense with all of the hype or trickery that has marked many of the company's previous ads (however good they may have been) and simply focus on the human factor. An excellent selection of well-conceived vignettes too. And what a gorgeous opening shot. As if to underline the power of the everyday approach, see how the only vignette that rings a little false is the hipster executive in the fast lift. That one smacks too much of the old Uber.
Adbrands Weekly Update 20th Sep 2018: Uber unveiled a new logo (in lower-case instead of its all-caps predecessor) and appointed Rebecca Messina as global chief marketing officer. She has spent the past two years as CMO of spirits company Beam Suntory, and before that was at Coca-Cola for almost 20 years.
Adbrands Weekly Update 30th Aug 2018: Toyota is investing $500m in a new partnership with Uber, whereby the latter's driverless technology will be combined with the Japanese company's own safety software and implanted in a fleet of Toyota minivans. These will then operate as part of the Uber ride-hailing service, though they will not be owned by Uber itself. Currently, Uber owns its own fleet of self-driving Volvo cars, but it has been moving away from this business model after one of its cars killed a pedestrian earlier this year. Uber also faces more stringent regulatory oversight as an operator of taxi services than as merely a technology provider. "I think there's going to be very large, multi-billion-dollar businesses to be built on fleet operations," said Jeff Miller, Uber’s head of business development for strategic initiatives, but this is no longer part of Uber's own strategy. "Over time, Uber will transition from the business model we have with Volvo, where we are owning and operating our fleet, to this kind of partnership, where Uber is the technology provider."
Adbrands Weekly Update 28th Jun 2018: Uber won a temporary reprieve from regulators in London. The ride-hailing service had its license to operate revoked last year by Transport for London for a catalogue of misdemeanours and a "lack of corporate responsibility". That reflected the devil-may-care attitude Uber practised in all its global operations under founder Travis Kalanick's management team. However, Uber now has a new team and a new CEO, who has spent much of his first year in office putting out the fires started under his predecessor. With its existing license due to expire this summer, Uber spent two days in an appeal court this week apologising to TfL, and promising to improve its standards. It was rewarded with a limited term license to continue; just 15 months on probation instead of the standard five years. That will give regulators the opportunity to monitor progress and assess whether the company has indeed changed its ways.
Adbrands Weekly Update 14th Jun 2018: Bozoma Saint John is quitting as chief brand officer of Uber after just a year in her role. Previously, she had been head of consumer marketing at Apple Music. Now she joins entertainment giant Endeavor as chief marketing officer across all divisions, which include the talent and sponsorship agencies WME and IMG, the Miss Universe and UFC martial arts events, Frieze art fairs and marketing agencies including Droga5 and Art+Commerce.
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