Uber has grown beyond just a ride-hailing company. That's the major focus the company is selling to investors as they prepare to begin their initial public offering sometime later this year. Some of their newer business efforts may even disrupt consumers from using one of Uber's vehicles.
Rachel Holt, head of the New Mobility division, says that customers who use Uber’s scooters and bikes hire 10 percent fewer cars through the app. And in at least one market on certain days -- the core of Sacramento, California -- more people took Uber’s electric bikes than used its cars. On Friday, the company plans to release 100 scooters into the city as well.
Uber says that cannibalization of its ride-hailing business is part of its master plan. Just as the startup disrupted its black car service years ago by offering lower-margin UberX rides, it now hopes to help forge the next shift in transportation. At the same time, growth is slowing in Uber’s main business -- meaning that as an IPO looms, its other ventures are becoming more important.
Besides investments in areas like food delivery and trucking, Uber is betting big on bikes and scooters. In April, it purchased Jump Bikes for $200 million. The company has also considered buying scooter front-runners Lime and Bird Rides Inc., holding talks with each, people familiar with the matter have said, but so far hasn’t done a deal. Instead, in the past few months, Uber has been cranking out its own product -- producing nearly 1,000 Jump-branded electric bikes a day. This year, the company has a $1 billion budget for scooters, bikes and other mobility initiatives, Holt said.
"Between Jan. 1 and March 1 you will see tens of thousands of Jump bikes and scooters hitting the road in the U.S.," she said.
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