In 2009, Uber Technologies Inc hit the private market and became one of the most disruptive tech companies of the millennial generation. When founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp initially took the concept to silicon valley it was met with apprehension, but today Uber stands as the worlds leading transportation service. From a technology stand point Uber came from humble beginnings, in their first round of Series A funding they rounded up $11.5 Million, later on snatching an additional $32 million in the 2nd round of funding before landing a mega $1.2 billion in their final round. To us ordinary folk on the ground that seems like a colossal amount amount of money, but when we compare it to the billions of dollars that companies such as Apple, Facebook and Tesla are able to raise it shows how innovative Uber has been to now be valued at 6.5 billion USD (2016).
With a quick download taxi services are at our finger tips, no longer do we have to flag down an overpriced taxi or call a dodgy number for a cab. We can load up the app and see all the drivers ready to come and precisely pick us up from our location, for a fraction of the price older methods did. Uber exploded. Uber became a monumental force technology. Uber changed the way we travelled. But this morning TfL pulled Uber’s private hire operator licence on the grounds of “public safety and security implications” despite the company having some 3.5 million passengers and 40,000 drivers in London. The company is not giving in so easily though accusing TfL of “[having] caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice”. Uber’s general manager in London Tom Elvidge stated that they will ‘defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app” and “intend to immediately challenge this decision in the courts.”
The tech junkie in me saw this gloomy morning coming, for those who are not fond of consumer choice Uber signifies everything that is perverse about technology, many think that Uber exploits drivers, competes unfairly by driving out competition with its lower pricing model and most importantly ignores the countless sexual assault complaints they receive each year. As an entrepreneur and an ethical business fanatic I can understand why the company lost its license in London but cannot help but think about the people this decision is going to affect. 40,000 people could be out of a job, working class disabled people may have to go back to alternative forms of transport – stripping many of their economic and social freedom.
Cos you can fucking afford them Piers https://t.co/EAxm2YFnpe
— daks (@dfordakota_) September 22, 2017
But I urge everyone to hold onto their seats, as where one technology fails another will rise into the fold. Uber’s main competitor Lyft has seen shareholder interest almost double this year and the company is aggressively on the rise. This may be the end of Uber in London but it will be replaced by a newer adopter who has learnt from all the mistakes of its predecessor – I can promise that much.
Written by Tskenya-Sarah Frazer
Editorial Director, LAPP The Brand