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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Adbrands Account Assignments tracks account management for the world's leading brands and companies, including details of which advertising agency handles which accounts in which countries for major markets. Adbrands Weekly Update is a weekly summary of the latest news affecting leading advertisers and their advertising and marketing agencies.
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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.
Adbrands Weekly Update 29th Mar 2018: Uber stepped back from another global market where it has been battling for supremacy with a local operator. It agreed to sell its ridesharing and food delivery operations across Southeast Asia - including Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore and Malaysia - to regional rival Grab for an undisclosed sum. As part of the deal, Uber will take a 27.5% shareholding in Grab, and its CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will join the merged company's board. Grab was founded in Singapore in 20102 by Anthony Tan and Tan Hooi Ling, originally under the name MyTeksi. It claims to operate the the largest transportation network in Southeast Asia with 3m rides a day and a fleet of 1.1m drivers. Key investors include its Chinese counterpart DiDi Chuxing (which acquired Uber's operations in China in 2016) and Japanese investment group SoftBank. Uber also called it quits in Russia last year, merging its operations there into local rival Yandex. The latest move has increased speculation that Uber might also quit India and Brazil, its two remaining emerging markets, where it also faces fierce local competition. Not so, said Khosrowshahi in a company blog post ruling out any further consolidation of its operations.
Adbrands Weekly Update 22nd Mar 2018: Sadly, it was an accident waiting to happen. A self-driving Uber car struck and killed a pedestrian in Arizona on Sunday evening. The adapted Volvo SUV was in autonomous mode at the time, with a human safety operator also sitting the car, and was travelling at 40mph. Arizona police released a video of the moments immediately before the collision. There is no sign of the vehicle slowing before impact, so clearly its perception systems did not detect the presence of the pedestrian who is seen suddenly crossing the road immediately in front of the car, apparently oblivious to its presence. "It's very clear it would have been difficult to avoid this collision in any kind of mode [autonomous or human driven], based on how she came from the shadows right into the roadway," Sylvia Moir, chief of police in Tempe, Arizona, told the San Francisco Chronicle. The investigation is continuing to determine if there is any fault on Uber's part. In the mean time, the company has suspended all tests of autonomous vehicles on public roads in the US. Numerous auto manufacturers are also running their own separate self-driving tests. However, only Toyota followed suit in suspending them temporarily, pending the results of the investigation. This is thought to be the first time a pedestrian has been killed in an incident involving a self-driving car, although there have been a handful of crashes over the past two years. In one, the owner of a Tesla running on autopilot was killed when his car crashed into another vehicle crossing the road.
Adbrands Weekly Update 4th Jan 2018: Uber agreed to sell a 17.5% stake to a consortium of investors led by Japanese telecoms group Softbank, also owner of US mobile operator Sprint. The $9bn purchase values Uber at around $48bn, a significant discount to the $70bn price used in its last fund-raising round. Softbank will end up with 15% of equity, with the remaining shares split between its various investment partners. The deal also involves several changes to Uber's corporate governance, including the elimination of "super-voting" shares held by some early investors as well as by founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick.
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