Uber is hiring a product manager to build its recruiting platform — “a series of products and systems that will help Uber attract the best talent in the world.”
In its latest job posting, Uber says it wants to add “tens of thousands” more employees in the next few years.
By itself, this isn’t news. But it’s significant that Uber is scaling so rapidly, and could be a sign of things to come for the ride-hailing company.
(Also, it should be noted that “employees” refers to people who work for the company itself — drivers, which numbered 162,037 in December and have presumably grown since then, don’t count).
Uber has raised $US5.9 billion in venture capital funding to date, valuing the company at more than $US40 billion.
And the company doesn’t seem to be done raising money yet, either: a report last week says Uber is looking to raise an additional $US1.5 billion to $US2 billion more, which would make Uber the most highly valued private tech company of all time, at over $US50 billion.
Right now, Uber offers its ride-hailing service in 55 countries and more than 200 cities globally. But ride-hailing isn’t the full extent of what Uber can offer. Last week, Uber submitted a bid to buy Nokia’s mapping product, Here. The move would be yet another divorce from its investor Google for the company, since right now Uber relies on Google Maps technology for its mapping.
Buying Here would allow the company to have its own mapping software and data, which would help Uber’s central driving business, but also its other logistics- related endeavours including UberFresh, its food delivery service, and UberPool, its carpooling service. In the past, Uber has offered other logistics solutions in select markets, like UberRush, a courier service, and UberESSENTIALS, a service that delivers anything you could possibly imagine getting from a corner store or pharmacy.
But Uber needs more employees if it wants to scale beyond ride-sharing and enter the logistics and delivery marketplace. It also needs more people to help it scale operations internationally — especially when it comes to the Indian and Asian markets, where the company has formidable rivals.
Uber’s December fundraising round — in which Uber raised a massive $US1.2 billion — was intended to allow Uber to “make significant investments, particularly in the Asia Pacific region.”
BuzzFeed News previously reported that Softbank Capital, which has funded on-demand ride-hailing startups GrabTaxi and OlaCabs, was behind a global alliance to take on Uber. Since then, two other huge Asian taxi-hailing companies — Kuaidi Dache, which is funded by Alibaba, and Didi Dache, funded by Tencent — have merged, consolidating the power of Asia-based car-hailing companies.
And though Uber operates in a number of Asian markets, including Beijing, Bangkok, and Tokyo, Uber has faced other legal hurdles in Asia. South Korea has charged Uber CEO Travis Kalanick with operating an “illegal” taxi service, and has vowed to shut down Uber’s operations in the country. As TechCrunch notes, “Korean law doesn’t allow technology companies to store payment data as part of their purchase workflow, but instead requires consumers to retype their information with every purchase, ostensibly for security reasons.”
OlaCabs, an Uber rival native to India, has a $US2.5 billion valuation and the trust of the Indian people, another obstacle Uber has to overcome in its international expansion. Allegations of an Uber driver raping a female passenger in India in 2014 have led some Indians to be wary of Uber’s services. This has prompted Uber to customise its Indian experience, adding an in-app panic button option that alerts police to your location, as well as introducing rickshaws and cash payment options for its Indian customers.
By putting more boots on the ground, Uber can help expand — and manage — its international footstep, as well as expand from its car-hailing service to more on-demand services in the logistics and delivery markets.