Rideshare, a word that has become synonymous with the company Uber, is currently taking the world by storm. Uber has been relentlessly expanding and taking over with no regrets and seemingly no gravity of the repercussions of their actions. Having stepped on every taxi company in every city they touch they’ve finally stepped on the wrong person.
The Uber craze has recently come from and center of an organization called the Global Taxi Alliance, a group originally consisting of Southeast Asia’s GrabTaxi and India’s OlaCabs.
OlaCabs and GrabTaxi are web-based apps which utilize traditional taxi drivers. Uber is different in that it uses private contractors who use their own vehicles to pick up fares.
Brian Cu, cofounder of GrabTaxi, was recently quoted in an article on buzzfeed.com stating that the growth of their company has been hindered by the regulations that have been set in place for taxi services, specifically regulations regarding regulated fees. Due to these regulations, GrabTaxi has lacked the ability to expand as aggressively as Uber. One concern traditional taxi companies have, in Asia and across the world, is that companies like Uber charge rates that are lower than standard taxi fares.
What makes eyebrows raise about this story is that Buzzfeed itself reported SoftBank’s investment in the Global Taxi Alliance in a recent article, though the piece initially failed to mention that the venture capital firm was an investor in the clickbait website.
For those wondering what Softbank Capital is, they are responsible for investments on multiple companies such as zynga(gaming company known for mobile games such as Farmville and words with friends), websites cheezburger, Huffington Post, and Buzzfeed as well as a laundry list of other notable companies.
Buzzfeed while known for their nonsensical list and clickbait videos, the site has also run a series of articles where they pointed out notable problems with Uber’s drivers and ride share programs in general. All of this was fine until it was brought to light that Ken Lerer, buzzfeed executive chairman, was invested in sidecar, one of Uber’s competitors. This is clearly a blatant conflict of interest and took what was a simple but surprising investment to an obvious case of intentional sabotage by way of supporting an opposing company.
To date, Uber has raised $3.3 billion in funding, and has become more than just a start up. Even with the fight with the Global Taxi Alliance, they continue to experiment with food delivery, moving, on-demand flu shots, and more. By the end of 2015 Uber could prove itself to be a large-scale dispatch and logistics company.
By: Courtney Thompson-Pemberton