How Uber Taxi Rolls Out City by City

Travis Kalanick, co-founder of Uber, explains the local market approach he took to grow his car service in seven U.S. cities, Paris, and Toronto. Up next? Asia.

Video Transcript
00:07 Travis Kalanick: We had no idea what we were getting into. But a lot of times, that's how these types of things start; you start by solving your own need and then, as times goes on, creativity and a curious mind just keep pushing the boundaries of what can be done until you find yourself rolling out a transportation system in every major city in the world.

00:26 Kalanick: Our first city was San Francisco, June 2010, and we didn't launch another city until New York, that was May 2011. At this point we're now in nine cities around the world, two of them outside of the United States; Toronto and Paris. We're going to be hitting Europe pretty hard in the next several months, and Asia is going to really get going in the second part of this year.

00:48 Kalanick: Every city, every subsequent city that we go to we're getting better at rolling the city out and growing the city faster. And so a lot of the cities where there's constrained number of taxis, no liquid black car market, those are the cities where we launch and things explode from the start. We have other cities where there's tons of taxis, in some cases way too many and in those situations often the quality of service being delivered is really poor, so we go in there and explode as well. But there's all kinds of different cities in terms of regulatory, and in terms of what the industry looks like, an industry which we're disrupting in a substantial way.

01:28 Kalanick: And so it's just something we learned how to deal with. I like to say we're principled, right? We think that cities deserve to have another transportation alternative. It sounds crazy to have to say that but you have to do that because you have incumbent interests which are often trying to curtail innovation and curtail sort of transportation alternatives that might compete with their existing business. And, because of that, it requires us to take a very local approach to how we go after a city. We have launchers that go into city and get... Turn nothing into something. I like to say they drop in with parachutes and machetes get highly involved with the suppliers, people who own cars and run car services, and really just make sure that we can launch a service that is high quality from the start.

02:27 Kalanick: Being local and speaking with local voice is important when you're doing transportation and means you know what's going on for the city.
Apr 25, 2012