Category: commuting

June 11, 2019 Off

Uber and AT&T team up for always-on connectivity for Uber Copter and Uber Air

By Jill T Frey

Uber is partnering with mobile network operator AT&T on the always-on connectivity it’ll require for its aerial transportation service network. The on-demand mobility company announced the team-up at its annual Elevate Summit, which brings together a number of key players working toward making affordable, accessible in-city aerial transit a reality.

Uber said that it’s already working with AT&T on the network it’ll use for Uber Copter, the Manhattan-to-JFK helicopter-based service that it’s launching in New York in July. The service is promising connection with ground transportation at both ends, and it’s also anticipating travel times and working backwards to provide transportation on-demand as needed to get passengers to their destination at the time they request. So, for instance, Uber Copter customers could say they need to be at JFK by 5 PM and the app will figure out when they need to get a car to get to the … Read the rest

May 31, 2019 Off

Is the tech press too positive in its coverage of startups?

By Jill T Frey

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

It’s our first week in the new TechCrunch podcast studio, or it was for Kate Clark and Chris Gates. Alex Wilhelm will be back in SF next week. For now, we fired up the mics and dug into what was a veritable barrage of news.

First, Paul Graham’s contentious comments. The co-founder of Y Combinator tweeted some criticism of the tech press on Thursday; naturally, Kate and Alex had a few thoughts. In summary, Graham doesn’t seem to understand what it is we tech journalists do, and that’s a problem.

Next … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Susan Fowler’s memoir has a title and a release date

By Jill T Frey

Susan Fowler’s forthcoming memoir, titled “Whistleblower,” is scheduled to hit bookshelves March 3, 2020. The book will be available for pre-order beginning June 12.

In late 2017, Penguin Random House imprint Viking Books acquired the rights to the memoir, which chronicles the harassment and discrimination Fowler faced during her tenure as a site reliability engineer at Uber.

Her memoir “will expose the systemic flaws rampant in the startup culture,” with “previously unreported details of what happened after she went public with the harassment and discrimination she faced [at Uber],” according to Viking. Additionally, it will touch on themes such as women’s role in the American economy, navigating challenging work environments, with an “eye-popping depiction and broad indictment of a work culture where a woman can do absolutely everything right and still encounter tremendous obstacles.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Fowler is best known for her infamous blog post, “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

Uber’s first employee Ryan Graves resigns from board

By Jill T Frey

Ryan Graves, a longtime Uber employee and former chief executive officer, has resigned from the company’s board of directors, effective Monday.

The newly-public company announced the departure on Friday afternoon. Ron Sugar, the company’s independent chairperson of the board, wrote in the filing that Graves was key in shaping what Uber is today. 

“As a thoughtful and engaged director, Ryan has continued to add value to Uber, offering insights and judgments that have helped us navigate the ups and downs of the business as we have grown over the past decade,” Sugar wrote. “While this is a bittersweet moment, we accept his personal decision that this is the right time for him to step down. Dara and I are grateful for his contributions to Uber’s success and wish him all the best going forward.”

Graves, who currently leads the investment firm Saltwater Capital, joined Uber in 2010 after co-founder and … Read the rest

May 23, 2019 Off

Automakers have a choice: Become data companies or become irrelevant

By Jill T Frey

While Bezos amassed billions, Apple took over our culture, Google became ubiquitous and software ate the world, the automotive industry needed a bailout. Since then, they have more or less recovered, but they are no longer the undisputed titans of American industry. That title now belongs to companies that traffic in data, and the FAANGs of the world have their digital fingers on the pulse of what moves us.

However, not all hope is lost for the old auto titans. Cars are here to stay, whether they have drivers or not. Automakers can ensure their seat at the table … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Equity Shot: Judging Uber’s less-than-grand opening day

By Jill T Frey

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.

We are back, as promised. Kate Clark and Alex Wilhelm re-convened today to discuss the latest from the Uber IPO. Namely that it opened down, and then kept falling.

A few questions spring to mind. Why did Uber lose ground? Was it the company’s fault? Was it simply the macro market? Was it something else altogether? What we do know is that Uber’s pricing wasn’t what we were expecting and its first day was not smooth.

There are a whole bunch of reasons why Uber went out the way it did. Firstly, the stock market has had a rough week. That, coupled with rising U.S.-China tensions made this week one of the worst of the year for Uber’s monstrous IPO.

But, to make all that clear, we ran … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Uber’s first day as a public company didn’t go so well

By Jill T Frey

Ouch. Yikes. Oof. Sigh.

Those are some of the friendlier phrases I imagine came out of the mouths of bankers, investors, executives and really anyone who has been paying close attention to Uber’s road to the stock markets today when the company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange below its initial public offering price.

The ride-hailing business (NYSE: UBER), previously valued at $72 billion by venture capitalists, priced its stock at $45 apiece for a valuation of $82.4 billion on Thursday. It began trading this morning at $42 apiece, only to close even lower at $41.57, or down 7.6% from its IPO price.

Still, the IPO was successful enough for Uber. The business now has $8.1 billion on its balance sheet to invest in growth and, ideally, transform into a profitable business.

Anyone who expected Uber to climb past $100 billion at its IPO is surely disappointed. And those … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

How the trade war with China hit Uber’s public offering

By Jill T Frey

Uber’s much heralded public offering has arrived not so much with a bang as with a whimper, thanks largely to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.

Overnight, the U.S. government made good on the threat from President Donald Trump to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods to 25% up from 10%.

As a result, stock markets slid further on Friday, and their decline hit Uber’s initial public offering. The company’s shares began trading at $42.54, below its initial pricing of $45 per share.

At its initial pricing, Uber was valued at $75.5 billion, below the $120 billion price that Wall Street thought the company would fetch late last year, but still among the biggest public offerings in history. Only Facebook’s $81 billion public offering and the whopping $169 billion debut of Alibaba were bigger, … Read the rest

May 7, 2019 Off

Lyft lost $1.14B in Q1 2019 on $776M in revenue

By Jill T Frey

In its first-ever earnings report as a public company, Lyft (Nasdaq: LYFT) failed to display progress toward profitability.

The ride-hailing business, which raised $2 billion in a March initial public offering, posted first-quarter revenues of $776 million on losses of $1.14 billion, including $894 million of stock-based compensation and related payroll tax expenses. The company’s revenues surpassed Wall Street estimates of $740 million while losses came in much higher as a result of IPO-related expenses.

“The first quarter was a strong start to an important year, our first as a public company,” Lyft co-founder and chief executive officer Logan Green said in a statement. “Our performance was driven by the increased demand for our network and multi-modal platform, as Active Riders grew 46 percent and revenue grew 95 percent year-over-year. Transportation is one of the largest segments of our economy and we are still in the very early stages … Read the rest

May 4, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: Will the Seattle tech scene ever reach its full potential?

By Jill T Frey

Greetings from Seattle, the land of Amazon, Microsoft, two of the world’s richest men and some startups.

I’m always surprised the Seattle startup ecosystem hasn’t grown to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley — or at least Boston and New York City — since the dot-com boom. Today, it’s the strongest it’s has been due to the successes of companies like the newly minted unicorn Outreach, trucking business Convoy and, of course, the dog walking startup Rover. But the city still lags behind, failing to adopt the culture of entrepreneurship that defines San Francisco.

I spent a lot of time wondering why it hasn’t reached its full potential. Is it because Microsoft and Amazon pay their employees so well they don’t have the same urge to build something from the ground up? Is it a lack of access to capital? Is the city not attracting top talent? If you … Read the rest