At a keynote session at Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference Wednesday morning in San Francisco, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick discussed his vision for the future of the company.
Kalanick wants Uber to become an affordable alternative to owning a car:
Our whole thing, while Uber Pool is part of what we do, is about making Uber cheaper than owning a car. That’s our whole thing. That’s why when you talk about surge and all that, it all comes down to the cheapest ride possible. If we can make Uber cheaper than owning a car, look at all the great things that happen: you no longer have parking problems in San Francisco. You no longer have congestion because half of the riders in San Francisco are in an Uber Pool, which is kind of amazing. No more parking problems, no more congestions, you’ll cut pollution and create thousands of jobs in the city.
Kalanick admitted to Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff that though Uber Pool is successful (he claimed that half of the San Francisco riders use Uber Pool), it’s not as profitable for the company than its more upscale offerings. But Kalanick sees an ecosystem of carpooling as the major goal for metropolises such as San Francisco.
So far, the app has been very successful, expanding into more cities (with the latest major launch in Las Vegas). But Uber has come under heavy regulatory criticism for its treatment and training of the independent contractors who drive for the company. Uber was plagued with legal problems in 2014 and has received governmental pushback in cities where taxis are the primary mode of ride-hailing.
Kalanick wants Uber to compete not only with the taxi companies, but delivery apps such as Instacart and Grubhub.
Through UberEats (available in cities such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Barcelona and Atlanta), people can order food and have an Uber driver deliver the meal.
Kalanick talked about how Uber could expand and get into local delivery services:
We’re in the business of delivering cars in under five minutes. There’s a lot of things you can deliver in under five minutes. … If you’re a local merchant, and you want to deliver something to someone in your city, Uber’s going to be there.
Reader: How do you feel about Uber’s future?