Imagine being in Paris with a friend. It’s 2008, it’s snowing and you’re desperately searching for a taxi. While waiting a crazy idea come up in your mind: “Imagine how cool would be summoning a taxi with a simple tap on your phone!”. The day after you’re still thinking about that and one year later you’ve seeded 20.000 dollars to test the idea. This is not a dream: this is what really happened to Kalanick and Garret Camp, Uber founders, who raised 44 million dollars in 2001 and 258 millions more two years later, when even Google Ventures decided to invest in their company.
Such a success is not welcomed by everyone, especially in Europe, where many countries still don’t like the idea of such an unregulated market. Is not surprising that Uber found a lot of resistance, so much that some services are not available in all European countries.
Even if Uber has raised an impressive amount of cash (we’re talking billions!), it still think as a startup and it’s continuously experimenting with new ideas. Like UberPop, a business model where everyone could became a Uber driver during his free time. While the standard Uber Services are more expensive than a taxi ride, and aimed to a businessmen audience, UberPop is so cheap that people has fall in love fort that. Both riders and drivers. Not everyone is happy about this revolution, especially amongst taxi drivers and judges, who think UberPop is not compatible with some european laws and stopped the service in some countries, while in other the dispute is still ongoing. This stop was not a huge problem for Uber, that decided to update its business model adding UberEats service, that delivery foods from restaurant. Not only pizzas: any kind of food, trying in this way to capitalize on the foodie market.
Uber’s difference lays in the fact it does not whine when encounter an obstacle nor get too comfy when the business is good. Despite the billions in its pocket, Uber is still experimenting new ideas, like filling the gap of public transportation. In the crowded San Paolo it launched UberCopter, an helitaxi service, while in the US anyone can save money by using UberPool, which eases car pooling.
We don’t know exactly what Uber is going to do next but for sure is experimenting with self driving cars. What about the employees? Probably they won’t drive cars in the future but there’s a good news for them: the company is studying some sorto of insurance for them, in the case their job will be taken by artificial intelligences.
The story of Uber teach us something important: ideas are not enough. You have to make them real and after that you can’t stop. You have to evolve every single day: you can’t stop improve the business plan once you’ve won rounds and got all the seed money you were searching for. You can’t stop improving and thinking forward if you want your company to survive.