Uber is uber in trouble. In fact, at a valuation of a large-cap company it may be one of the most distressed companies among its peers. The company has had its issues in the past, but now more and more is piling on. Following the controversy surrounding Kalanick, Iranian-American businessman Khosrowshahi took the helm. Despite Kalanick’s resignation, he chose to remain on the board, and many users of the app are unhappy. Critics still have negative things to say about the corporate culture which include a ‘fraternity’ like culture and discrimination on different levels. Confidence in the new CEO Khosrowshahi is strong, but the current environment has Uber swimming against the tide.
Uber has lost territory in two very important cities. This includes London and Quebec. London has asked the company to leave after violating many rules and procedures. Not only have they left their business segment in London, but the UK Head, Bertram, has decided to leave as well. In Quebec the company decided to leave on their own accord or face damages. The company has typically had lagging reactions to rules and procedures. They have decided to operate in many markets they were never authorized to do so and did not deal with the fact until after. This is not the only aggressive thing about Uber’s business plan. In the past they have called Lyft drivers only to cancel to delay riders and impede on the competition. Recently there are allegations that the Uber app spies on users and may use data to maintain a competitive edge. Those who side with Uber state that being on the top has created a situation where many arrows are pointing at them. Whatever the fact is Uber has over a $50 billion valuation and many investors to please, disruption in any form of business development can be deadly.
Competition has, is, and will be fierce in an industry altering as fast as Uber is. Is it a technology platform, a driving service, a robotics company – nobody is quite sure. What most are aware of is that funding is very important. Uber is able to execute a seamless harmony in connecting drivers and riders through complex algorithms and investors are hoping a big payoff from their driverless car program. The packages involved for engineers that sign contracts are very enticing making some Carnegie Mellon graduates very wealthy. The human capital is immensely expensive with companies such as Google, Apple, Tesla, and the Toyota Research Institute fighting over top talent. Not only that, but access to investor capital is essential with such high costs. Lyft has recently partnered with Ford for an autonomous vehicle. That’s not the only thing Lyft has up its sleeve, but also an impending IPO. If Lyft were to debut on the public markets before Uber, that would spell big trouble. Lyft already has the backing of many big-name investors such as Carl Icahn himself.
Losing two big business segments, top executives, and still being clouded with controversy has some speculators worried about Uber’s future. For the first time Lyft is looking like the stronger competitor as Uber tries to manage its management with heavy, mounting regulation. If Uber is unable to IPO before or soon after Lyft does the company could lose its luster.