Uber dips toes in London waters, partners with Thames Clippers to launch ‘Uber Boat’

Uber has been in headlines often quite lately for numerous reasons! In the recent one, the San-Francisco-based ride-hailing app signed a partnership with Thames Clippers to launch boat service. 

Uber Boat by Thames Clippers

According to the partnership, Thames Clippers vessels – a 20-strong fleet of boats and 23 piers between Putney and Woolwich will be branded as “Uber Boat by Thames Clippers”. But the service will continue to be fully operated by Thames Clippers. 

This move comes as a desperate attempt to revive and diversify its business after being hit by the COVID-19 outbreak. Uber reported $ 2.9 billion (approx €2.6 billion) loss in the first quarter of 2020 and laid off thousands of employees as well. 

Tickets on Uber app

According to Thames Clippers, the partnership between the company and Uber encourages more people to travel by boat around the city and supports the ongoing expansion of the river network across London. Uber users can purchase tickets in advance through the Uber app and then use QR technology to board the boats. 

Jamie Heywood, Regional General Manager for Northern and Eastern Europe, Uber, said: “Londoners are looking for new ways to travel around the city, particularly when they start commuting back to work. Later this summer we will launch the Uber Boat by Thames Clippers partnership in London as a means for people to travel into the City by water, which will be fully integrated through the Uber app.

Linking river and road

It’s worth mentioning that the payment will be processed using the user’s Uber account details. On the other hand, Londoners will continue to be able to purchase tickets via the existing channels, including contactless cards and Oyster. 

Sean Collins, co-founder, and CEO, Thames Clippers, said: “In our 22nd year of operation it is key that we continue to support London and its commuters with the ease of lockdown and return to work. The new partnership sees Thames Clippers and Uber, who both pride themselves on safety, reliability, and comfort, come together. It will allow us to link the two travel modes of river and road, providing Londoners and visitors with even more options to commute, visit, explore, and enjoy our city by the river. Watch this space; the partnership will support the ongoing expansion of our network, opening up more of London to fast, reliable journeys by water.”

Wearing mask is compulsory

A couple of years back, Uber announced an island-hopping option on the Dalmatian coast in Croatia. But this is the first time Uber has offered fix-scheduled commuter boats. As per Transport for London (TfL) guidance passengers will be required to wear masks, while staff will have PPE. 

Uber & London – Not a great story

To reiterate, Uber’s relationship with London’s transport authority has not been great over the few months. Back in November, Uber lost its licence due to several breaches that placed passengers and their safety at risk. 

The TfL also said 14,000 trips taken involved unauthorised drivers who had faked their identity on the Uber app. However, Uber appealed that decision and was later granted permission to operate for 15 months.

Thames Clippers

Thames Clippers operates a fleet of 20 vessels and now carries over 4 million passengers a year. The riverboat services stretch from Putney to Royal Arsenal Woolwich.

Main image credits: Thames Clippers

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Uber acquires Postmates for €2.34B after losing Grubhub deal to Just Eat Takeaway

The ride-hailing app Uber, which also operates as a food delivery company UberEats will acquire Postmates for $ 2.65 billion (approx €2.34 billion) in an all-stock transaction, after all the struggle to buy out Grubhub tanked previously

Plans to close deal in Q1 2021

This acquisition could boost Uber’s delivery business and help compensate the company’s core ride-hailing business, which has plummeted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, the San-Francisco-based company reported $ 2.9 billion (approx €2.6 billion) loss in the first quarter of 2020. The company is planning to close the deal in Q1 2021. Post the acquisition, Postmates app will continue to run separately but with a more efficient, combined merchant, and delivery network. 

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, said, “Uber and Postmates have long shared a belief that platforms like ours can power much more than just food delivery—they can be a hugely important part of local commerce and communities, all the more important during crises like COVID-19. As more people and more restaurants have come to use our services, Q2 bookings on Uber Eats are up more than 100 percent year on year. We’re thrilled to welcome Postmates to the Uber family as we innovate together to deliver better experiences for consumers, delivery people, and merchants across the country.” 

Soaring demand for online food delivery

According to Uber, consumers will benefit from expanded choice across a wider range of restaurants and other merchants. For restaurants and merchants, Postmates and Uber Eats will together offer more tools and technology to more easily and cost-effectively connect with a bigger consumer base.

Even though the company is not profitable, the demand has soared since mid-March, with 89% YoY gross bookings growth in April. On the other hand, Uber Eats is shutting down its business in unprofitable markets. 

60,000 restaurants and retailers, 50 states

Founded by Bastian Lehmann, Sam Street, Sean Plaice in 2011, Postmates led the creation of on-demand delivery in the U.S and has grown to be the number one platform in Los Angeles. 

Right now, the platform operates in all 50 states and offers customers access to the most selection of merchants in the US with more than 600,000 restaurants and retailers available for delivery and pickup, many of which are exclusive to Postmates. 

“Over the past eight years we have been focused on a single mission: enable anyone to have anything delivered to them on-demand. Joining forces with Uber will continue that mission as we continue to build Postmates while creating an even stronger platform that brings this mission to life for our customers. Uber and Postmates have been strong allies working together to advocate and create the best practices across our industry, especially for our couriers. Together we can ensure that as our industry continues to grow, it will do so for the benefit of everyone in the communities we serve,” said Postmates Co-Founder and CEO Bastian Lehmann.

Main image credits: rafapress/Shutterstock

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Startups – Silicon Canals

Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp all started during a crisis. Startups must be protected during Covid too – ThePrint

Uber, Airbnb, WhatsApp all started during a crisis. Startups must be protected during Covid too  ThePrint
“startups when:1d” – Google News

Uber reportedly agrees to acquire Postmates for $2.65 billion

Uber has reportedly agreed to buy Postmates in an all-stock deal worth $ 2.65 billion. According to Bloomberg, the deal may be announced on Monday morning.

Like other travel- and transportation-related businesses, Uber’s ride-hailing segment has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shelter-in-place orders throughout the United States. On-demand delivery, however, has grown, with people relying on services like Uber Eats to get food without leaving their homes. According to its last earnings report, Uber’s ride-hailing gross bookings dropped, but its food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54% during its first fiscal quarter.

According to previous reports, Uber made an offer to buy Grubhub, another on-demand delivery service, earlier this year, but after that deal fell through, it approached Postmates. Bloomberg reports that Uber and Postmates have actually talked on and off for about four years, but negotiations became more intense about a week ago.

Grubhub ended up being acquired by Just Eat Takeway in a deal worth $ 7.3 billion after its negotiations with Uber stalled.

With a valuation of $ 2.4 billion, Postmates is a smaller company than Grubhub. The company filed to go public in February 2019, but decided to hold off because of “choppy market” conditions.

If the deal goes through, the main competitors in the American food delivery market would be Uber Eats/Postmates versus Grubhub/Takeaway versus DoorDash.

In other countries, companies like Grab have also begun building out their on-demand delivery services to make up for losses from fewer ride-hailing bookings. For example, Grab responded to stay-at-home orders in Indonesia (its main market) and other Southeast Asian countries by re-deploying ride-hailing drivers to on-demand deliveries for food and essential items.

Startups – TechCrunch