This week, Uber turned five.
The ridehailing company has experienced hockey-stick growth over the past few years: what once started as a company called UberCab in San Francisco has become a transportation behemoth.
Uber operates in more than 300 cities and 58 countries around the world, and it’s rumoured to be worth as much as $US50 billion, making it the most valuable private tech company in the world.
At a celebration of Uber’s fifth anniversary, CEO Travis Kalanick shared his vision for the company.
“If we were able to achieve this much in five years, just imagine what we could achieve in the next five years, or the five years after that. Just imagine a city where traffic speeds along smoothly and quietly, even at rush hour (this is my dream),” he said.
“Imagine a city that reclaims the space once wasted on garages and lots and meters to build new parks and schools and housing. Imagine a city where you can choose to live or start a business anywhere you want, because transportation to and from will always be one tap away.”
Kalanick eventually wants Uber to be so cheap that it becomes the cheap and efficient alternative to both owning a vehicle and taking public transportation. He said almost half of San Francisco’s Uber rides are UberPool rides — a carpooling option that pairs you up with another rider going the same direction as you, and lowers your fare. “This is our ultimate vision of the future,” Kalanick said. “Smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access.”
Interestingly, his vision for Uber centered primarily on the transportation aspect of the company. He didn’t address the possibility of an IPO or self-driving cars — in fact, Kalanick spoke extensively about the importance of Uber’s driver partners.
He did, however, touch briefly on the potential for Uber to expand into delivery and logistics.
He said: “In a world where technology can deliver the ride you need within five minutes wherever you are in the world, just imagine all the other goods and services that you could one day get delivered quickly, safely, with just the single touch of a button.”