|Bid||28.59 x 800|
|Ask||28.24 x 3000|
|Day's range||28.18 - 28.99|
|52-week range||25.58 - 47.08|
|Beta (3Y monthly)||N/A|
|PE ratio (TTM)||N/A|
|Forward dividend & yield||N/A (N/A)|
|1y target est||N/A|
Uber just released its first-ever safety report that covers sexual assault. In 2017, Uber received 2,936 reports pertaining to sexual assault, and received 3,045 in 2018. Despite the increase in raw numbers, Uber saw a 16% decrease in the average incident rate, which it suggests may correlate with the company's increased focus on safety as of late.
(Bloomberg) -- Uber Technologies Inc. found more than 3,000 allegations of sexual assaults involving drivers or passengers on its platform in the U.S. last year, part of an extensive and long-awaited review in response to public safety concerns.The ride-hailing company released an 84-page safety report Thursday, seeking to quantify the misconduct and deaths that occur on its system and argue that its service is safer than alternatives.U.S. customers took about 1.3 billion trips last year, Uber said. About 50 people have died in Uber collisions annually for the past two years, at a rate about half the national average for automotive fatalities, according to the company. Nine people were killed in physical assaults last year, Uber said.Uber drivers reported nearly as many allegations of sexual assault as passengers, who made 56% of the claims. There is little comparable data on assaults in taxis or other transportation systems, and experts have said the attacks are widely under-reported. The assault claims reported to Uber ranged from unwanted kissing to forcible penetration.“Uber is very much a reflection of society,” said Tony West, Uber’s chief legal officer who helped spearhead the two-year research effort. “The sad, unfortunate fact is that sexual violence is more prevalent in our society than people think. People don’t like to talk about this issue.”Uber had committed more than a year ago to release a safety study, a promise Lyft Inc. made soon after. Lyft, the second-biggest ride-hailing provider in the U.S., has yet to publish a report. On Thursday, Uber said it would regularly share data with Lyft and other companies about drivers accused of serious safety lapses and continue publishing safety reports every two years.Uber has faced a steady stream of complaints in court across the country over driver misconduct, and Lyft has recently seen an explosion in legal claims by passengers. Just in California, at least 52 riders have sued Lyft this year over allegations they were assaulted or harassed by their drivers, according to filings reviewed by Bloomberg.Any number of deaths or violence is a reminder of the risks inherent to taking a ride with a stranger and the limited oversight the company has over what occurs. By publishing the data, Uber is taking an unusual step for a company, by drawing attention to the dangers of its product. The stock fell about 1.5% in extended trading after Uber put out the report.Uber shares had already fallen more than 35% from its May initial public offering through Thursday’s close. Its largest shareholder is Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp., which has struggled with its bets on Uber, WeWork and other startups in recent months.Uber has faced similar complaints in countries beyond the U.S. The company was sued in 2017 by a woman who alleged top executives violated her privacy after one of its drivers in India allegedly raped her.Regulators in London cited uncertainty about Uber’s ability to ensure the well-being of its passengers as a reason they revoked the company’s license to operate there last week. Uber will be able to continue operating in the U.K. capital as it appeals the decision. Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive officer, said at an event earlier this week that “a precursor to trust is transparency.”According to the study, the proportion of assaults to total trips decreased by 16% last year as Uber implemented new safety tools, such as contacting drivers and customers when the system identifies unusual activity, as well as adding a button to dial 9-1-1 from the app. “I do think Uber is one of the safest ways to get from point A to point B,” said West.Uber disclosed five categories of sexual assault allegations. In 2018, Uber received 1,560 reports of non-consensual touching of a sexual body part, 594 reports of non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part, 376 reports of non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part, 280 reports of attempted non-consensual sexual penetration and 235 reports of non-consensual sexual penetration.The extent of sexual misconduct, while staggering, isn’t unique to Uber, said Ebony Tucker, executive director at Raliance, an advocacy and consulting firm focused on preventing sexual violence. Uber’s findings “didn’t surprise any of us,” she said. “Sexual assault is pervasive. It’s everywhere.”Counting assaults is a complicated exercise. Only about a third of claims the company received about penetration without consent were reported to the police, Uber estimated. In about a quarter of cases, Uber said its team didn’t successfully communicate with the victim after the initial report. Women reported 89% of the rape allegations, the company said.Uber opted not to disclose many other troubling forms of sexual misconduct that it had previously identified as possible reporting categories. For instance, the company didn’t say how many times drivers and riders made inappropriate comments to one another, nor did it disclose incidents of indecent exposure.But advocates for victims of sexual violence called the decision to release data a potential watershed moment. “It’s really unprecedented for a company to collect this kind of systematic data over time and then share it with the public,” said Karen Baker, chief executive officer of the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, which advised Uber on the study. Baker said she has urged other companies in the hospitality and transportation industries in the U.S. to follow suit.Both Baker and Uber’s legal chief said the company may see an increase in reports of sexual misconduct in the future. That would actually be a positive sign, Baker said, because it would reflect victims’ confidence that their claims would be taken seriously.(Updates with share price in ninth paragraph.)\--With assistance from Robert Burnson.To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at email@example.com;Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at email@example.com, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The figure represents a 16% fall in the rate of incidents from the previous year in the five most serious categories of sexual assault reported, Uber said on Thursday in its first biennial U.S. Safety Report https://www.uber-assets.com/image/upload/v1575580686/Documents/Safety/UberUSSafetyReport_201718_FullReport.pdf. The firm also said reports of assaults on passengers overlooked risks for drivers as riders accounted for roughly half of the accused. The 84-page report comes almost two weeks after Uber said it would appeal the loss of its license to carry passengers in London over a "pattern of failures" on safety and security.
(Bloomberg) -- More than 100,000 trips have been taken in robotaxis operated by Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Alphabet Inc. Now the service is expanding to iPhone users.On the first anniversary of its pilot program in Chandler, Arizona, Waymo said it will begin offering an iOS app for its robot ride-hailing service for iPhones. It also revealed new details of the pioneering robotaxi service, which has been slow to offer fully autonomous service without human “safety drivers” behind the wheel to take over in an emergency.Waymo, which began a decade ago as Google’s self-driving car project, said its service has 1,500 monthly users and has tripled the number of weekly rides since January. Since late summer, Waymo has ramped up a “rider only” option without human safety drivers to a test group of a few hundred commuters. While those people weren’t always charged initially, they are now paying rates that are competitive with Uber and Lyft ride-hailing services, according to a Waymo spokeswoman.Most Waymo rides occur in the late afternoon and evening, with commuters using the service for everything from getting to work to having a “date night,” Dan Chu, the company’s chief product officer, wrote in a blog post.The service is expanding and will add more riders who will join a wait list by using the new iOS app. The service has been available on Android phones since the spring.Still, John Krafcik, Waymo’s chief executive officer, told reporters in October he is unsure when commercial robotaxis will take off. General Motors Co. has delayed the rollout of its service and Ford Motor Co.’s CEO has said the industry overestimated the arrival of self-driving cars.“It’s an extremely challenging thing to do,” Krafcik told reporters at a dinner in Detroit. “I do share your sense of uncertainty, even in my role. I don’t know precisely when everything is going to be ready, but I know I am supremely confident that it will be.”(Updates with comment from company spokeswoman in third paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Craig Trudell at email@example.com, Alistair BarrFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc. managed to borrow at some of the lowest costs ever in the junk-bond market as investors clamored for a piece of the technology company’s debut sale.The size of the offering was increased to $700 million from a planned $600 million after Twitter received more than $6 billion in orders for its debt, according to people with knowledge of the matter, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. It ultimately sold the notes at a yield of 3.875%, matching the yield Popeyes parent company Restaurant Brands International Inc. paid to borrow in September. The coupon is the lowest for securities maturing in eight years or more in the U.S. high-yield market, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.The strong demand for the bonds shows how eager investors are to get their hands on higher paying securities, especially ones with BB tier ratings that carry less risk than lower-rated junk bonds. Double B rated notes have returned 14.1% this year through Wednesday, compared with the broader high-yield market’s 12.1% gain. Large cash-flow positive technology companies like Twitter are also a relative rarity in a market that’s become accustomed to deals from cash-burners like Netflix Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc.Twitter and Restaurant Brands may have each other to thank for some of their junk bond market success. The fast-food operator brought its deal just weeks after Popeyes sold out of its famous chicken sandwich. Crowds descended onto stores eager to try a menu item that became a sensation on the microblogging site.\--With assistance from Gowri Gurumurthy.To contact the reporter on this story: Claire Boston in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nikolaj Gammeltoft at email@example.com, Christopher DeReza, Allan LopezFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Uber launched in Ivory Coast's commercial capital Abidjan on Thursday, part of its expansion into African markets with low levels of car ownership and limited mass transport. The ride-hailing firm is facing competition from Estonia-based Bolt, which takes a smaller cut from drivers and plans to double its service in South Africa. Although Uber, which is also facing regulatory clampdowns elsewhere, operates in 16 cities in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly in South Africa and east Africa, its presence has so far been limited in west Africa, aside from Nigeria and Ghana.
(Bloomberg Opinion) -- It was never going to be easy for Kroger Co., the nation’s largest supermarket chain, to play defense at a moment of colossal change in the grocery business.That was apparent in its Thursday earnings report, in which revenue and adjusted earnings per share revenue came in slightly below analysts’ expectations, sending shares down. (On the bright side, comparable sales growth accelerated, increasing 2.5% from a year earlier.)The patchy results are the latest reason to doubt that this company is going to be able to transform itself for a more digital-centric future before it’s too late.At a presentation for analysts last month, CEO Rodney McMullen acknowledged that, two years into a three-year turnaround plan, the company has come up short. In particular, he said, “we asked our store associates to do too many things at once,” a reference to its efforts to remodel stores and make better use of shelf space while simultaneously ramping up its click-and-collect business.It is concerning that Kroger apparently has found it so difficult to do retailing battle on multiple fronts. After all, that is simply the reality of being a major brick-and-mortar chain these days, and key rivals seem to be managing it just fine.Target Corp. has renovated about 700 stores since 2017 and has also managed to roll out same-day delivery via Shipt and expand curbside pickup. In the latest quarter, 80% of its digital growth came from those and other same-day fulfillment options. Walmart Inc. has had similar success, developing an online grocery operation that is competitive with Amazon.com Inc.’s while also making physical stores cleaner and better-stocked.It’s not just that Kroger needs to be able to multitask. It also needs a better plan to win at online grocery.In a recent press release, Kroger proudly touted that, as a holiday season promotion, it would offer online grocery pickup for free and waive the usual $4.95 fee. Are shoppers seriously supposed to be impressed by that when pickup is always free at Walmart and Target? If Kroger can’t match that offering, it’s hard to see how it is going to fight effectively for digital grocery market share.Kroger’s biggest e-commerce bet is its partnership with Ocado Group Plc to build automated warehouses for grocery delivery. But those efficiencies will only matter if it can build a substantial base of online customers. And the cost of building these one-of-a-kind facilities, executives have said recently, is coming in higher than expected.In the meantime, Kroger continues to make head-scratching moves such as its foray into the world of so-called “dark kitchens,” or delivery-only food preparation facilities. Through a partnership with the cheekily named ClusterTruck, it announced this week, Kroger will experiment with on-demand delivery of prepared meals.This effectively puts the supermarket chain in competition for the diners that Grubhub, Doordash and Uber Eats are after. This category has enormous growth potential, so Kroger’s ambitions are understandable. But it’s also an area in which restaurant and technology companies have a head start and seem destined to outflank Kroger. And the whole venture seems like a distraction from the more pressing mission of shoring up its positioning in its core grocery business.Kroger’s three-year plan was underwhelming when it was unveiled two years ago, and since then the company hasn’t consistently impressed with its execution. Kroger is undoubtedly a busy company, but it’s not clear all the hustle is making it a better one.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at email@example.comThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is drafting a bill that would call on regulators to retroactively review about two decades of “mega mergers” and ban such deals going forward.Warren’s staff recently circulated a proposal for sweeping anti-monopoly legislation, which would deliver on a presidential campaign promise to check the power of Big Tech and other industries. Although the Trump administration is currently exploring their own antitrust probes, the proposal is likely to face resistance from lawmakers.According to a draft of the bill reviewed by Bloomberg, the proposal would expand antitrust law beyond the so-called consumer welfare standard, an approach that has driven antitrust policy since the 1970s. Under the current framework, the federal government evaluates mergers primarily based on potential harm to consumers through higher prices or decreased quality. The new bill would direct the government to also consider the impact on entrepreneurs, innovation, privacy and workers.Warren’s bill, tentatively titled the Anti-Monopoly and Competition Restoration Act, would also ban non-compete and no-poaching agreements for workers and protect the rights of gig economy workers, such as drivers for Uber Technologies Inc., to organize.A draft of Warren’s bill was included in an email Monday from Spencer Waller, the director of the Institute for Consumer Antitrust Studies at Loyola University Chicago. Waller urged fellow academics to sign a petition supporting it. He said Warren was working on the bill with Representative David Cicilline, the most prominent voice on antitrust issues in the House. Waller declined to comment on the email.Representatives for Cicilline and Warren declined to comment. The existence of the bill and Warren’s support of it were reported earlier this week by the technology publication the Information.In Washington, there is some support across the political spectrum for increased antitrust scrutiny of large technology companies. Warren positioned herself as a leader on the issue this year while campaigning on a plan to break up Big Tech. She has repeatedly called for unwinding Facebook Inc.’s acquisitions of WhatsApp and Instagram, along with Google’s purchase of YouTube and advertising platform DoubleClick.Read more: Warren Accuses Michael Bloomberg of ‘Buying the Election’It’s not clear when a bill would be introduced or whether it would move forward in its current form. Cicilline has said he would not introduce antitrust legislation until he concludes an antitrust investigation for the House Judiciary Committee in early 2020.Amy Klobuchar, a Senator from Minnesota who’s also vying for the Democratic nomination, has pushed legislation covering similar ground. Klobuchar plans to introduce additional antitrust legislation soon, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to discuss the plans and asked not to be identified.Any proposal would face significant hurdles to becoming law, and Warren’s version could be particularly problematic because it promotes the idea that antitrust enforcement is equivalent to being against big business, said Barak Orbach, a law professor at the University of Arizona who received a draft of the bill. “The way I read it is that Elizabeth Warren is trying to make a political statement in the course of her campaign,” Orbach said. “It’s likely to have negative effects on antitrust enforcement, so I just don’t see the upside other than for the campaign.”The bill proposes a ban on mergers where one company has annual revenue of more $40 billion, or where both companies have sales exceeding $15 billion, except under certain exceptions, such as when a company is in immediate danger of insolvency. That would seemingly put a freeze on many acquisitions for Apple Inc., Alphabet Inc., Facebook, Microsoft Corp. and dozens of other companies. The bill would also place new limitations on smaller mergers.Chris Sagers, a law professor at Cleveland State University, said the proposal would serve as an effective check on corporate power. “I don’t think you’ll have new antitrust policy until Congress says the courts have incorrectly interpreted the statutes,” he said. “Someone has to do what Elizabeth Warren is doing.”(Michael Bloomberg is also seeking the Democratic presidential nomination. Bloomberg is the founder and majority owner of Bloomberg LP, the parent company of Bloomberg News.)To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Newcomer in San Francisco at firstname.lastname@example.org;Joshua Brustein in New York at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Milian at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- The scooter-sharing service Lime warned the U.S. government earlier this year of an existential threat to its business. Paying new tariffs on Chinese vehicles would require Lime either to absorb significant new costs, charge customers more or fundamentally reshape its supply chain, the company argued in an official request for an exemption. Choosing any of these options would “stunt Lime’s growth and threaten the survival of its existing services.” Over the last two years, a wave of scooter-sharing companies have emerged, based on the belief that American urbanites are hungry for alternatives to car travel. Their business models also relied on another assumption: that they’d always be able to import large numbers of low-cost vehicles from China. For the San Francisco-based Lime, the Chinese connections ran particularly deep. Brad Bao and Toby Sun, its co-founders, were both born in China, and they sold the startup to investors as a company that maintained a foot in their home country. Having two Chinese founders “who had the relationships, and can set up that operation quickly, was a real advantage,” said Joe Kraus, who invested in Lime in 2018 as a partner at GV, then became Lime’s chief operating officer four months later.President Donald Trump’s aggressive trade policies complicate that story. Countless American companies find themselves stuck in the middle of the competition between the U.S. and China. Markets plummeted on Tuesday after the president indicated he was inclined not to make a trade deal soon—then recovered the following day on signs that a deal could come before American tariffs are set to rise on Dec. 15. Companies have filed about 44,000 requests for tariff exemptions, and about 5,000 have been approved. The U.S. Trade Representative rejected Lime’s request, along with similar ones from Bird Rides Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc. Scooter imports from China to the U.S. this year total nearly $300 million, according to research compiled for Bloomberg by IHS Markit’s Global Trade Atlas. This puts the importers on the hook for about $74 million in tariffs, a significant added expense for the money-bleeding startups that dominate the scooter industry. Lime has raised almost $800 million since its founding in 2017, and investors valued the company at $2.4 billion in its most recent funding round this February. It is close to completing another round of investment that will add hundreds of millions of dollars to its coffers, according to an investor who did not want to be identified discussing private fundraising plans. Bao, who has been Lime’s CEO since May, was more sanguine about trade issues in a recent interview than the company was in its filing earlier this year. “We are not getting unnecessarily nervous,” he said, adding that Lime could be profitable as soon as next year. The company’s calculations rely on improvements to the durability of its vehicles, which Lime attributes largely to its manufacturing expertise. When asked what would happen if Chinese manufacturing receded as a viable option, Bao waved the idea off. “That doesn’t come to our mind,” he said. Yet Lime has already begun to take steps to relieve its exposure to tariffs. The startup imported over 30,000 vehicles in the months before the first round of tariffs went into effect last August, according to Steve Ferreira, CEO of Ocean Audit, which tracks the global movement of goods. Lime’s imports since that time amount to, as Ferreira puts it, “almost zilch.”Like many companies caught up in the trade war, Lime at times had trouble navigating the new landscape. Last year the company, along with a consultant it had hired, misclassified Lime’s scooter imports in a way that resulted in it not paying higher tariffs even after they were implemented, according to three people familiar with the matter. Lime executives later uncovered the practice, and told the government, paying for the tariffs it had avoided. The case is now closed, according to a company spokeswoman. Lime is now considering moving some manufacturing out of China and into Southeast Asia, according to a person familiar with the matter who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly. Kraus described relocating manufacturing capabilities as one of many options the company has to mitigate trade-related risks but declined to say whether it has already begun doing so. “We’ve got plans in place, whether it’s short, mid or long-term,” he said. A spokeswoman later said the company hasn’t moved any operations out of China. Lime’s Chinese connections are a key part of its culture, said people who work there. At its Redwood City, California, office, some employees greet one another and chat in Mandarin. Shelves of scooter helmets clutter the hallways, along with stacks of dried seaweed snacks, and individual packs of Nongshim Shin instant ramen. In the parking lot on a recent Friday afternoon, a man in a Lime helmet waved goodbye and yelled out “zaijian” to his colleagues as he scooted away. Lime likes to see itself as hard-charging even by the standards of tech startups. “As a Chinese company, they move fast,” said Christine Chang, who was senior manager of Lime’s logistics and supply chain operation until this summer. Speaking alternately in Mandarin and English in a recent interview, she said she was drawn to the company because of its Chinese-born founders and Chinese-speaking staff. Bao switches between downplaying and celebrating Lime’s ties to China. “We are born and bred in the U.S.,” he said, pointing out that Lime was founded in California. A few minutes later he argued that Lime was better prepared than its competitors to navigate sensitive international relationships. His Chinese upbringing, he said, “does really help with that.” Bao traces his own entrepreneurship to an ill-fated attempt to sell Nirvana T-shirts on the streets of Wuhan, China, when he was 14. It was the early 1990s, and the band was at the peak of its prominence. Yet, Chinese teenagers didn’t wear band shirts, opting instead for plain t-shirts. The business flopped. The lesson Bao took away, he said, was not to get too far ahead of the market.Bao, 44, moved to the U.S. in 2003 to attend Berkeley’s business school. After graduating, he joined Tencent Holdings Ltd., as the general manager of its U.S. operation. The job came with a $48,000 annual salary and no equity in the company, which is now worth $400 billion. After a stint as an investor, he started Lime in January 2017 with Sun, who he knew through a B-school alumni group. The two men were fixated on the growing Chinese trend of bike-sharing, where companies blanketed city streets with vehicles and let people unlock them with smartphone apps. They thought it’d work in the U.S. There was more interest for bike-sharing than there had been for Nirvana t-shirts in 1990s China, but not much more. Lime only began to look like a huge hit when it added scooters following the sudden success of Bird in late 2017. In the U.S., the main distinctions between Lime and Bird’s product offerings are the color schemes. When Bird and other rivals first launched their scooter-sharing businesses, they used off-the-shelf vehicles, adding their own software and branding. But Lime has always claimed a more sophisticated supply chain operation than its rivals.From the onset, it maintained operations in both China and the U.S. Its business in Shenzhen is run by Adam Zhang, who is described within the company as its third founder. Zhang, who was previously CEO of a Beijing-based e-bike company, is responsible for leading Lime’s Shenzhen team in hardware design, production and supply chain management, according to his LinkedIn profile. About 90 of the company’s 750 employees are currently based in China. The decision to invest in a full-time Asia operation, led by a local manager who understood the complexities of hardware and supply chain operations, was critical to their strategy, said Connie Chan, general partner at Andreessen Horowitz, an early Lime investor.Through its wide network of Chinese manufacturers, Lime was able to seek deeper control from day one, according to Bo Hu, its director of engineering. The company sourced components from various suppliers—a battery from one factory, a controller from another, a motor from a third, said Hu. The custom-made scooters are intended both to develop vehicles with Lime-specific features, and to build longer-lasting vehicles, because the rate of deterioration is one of the major factors determining the economic viability of scooter-sharing companies. “In order to get your vehicles to last a long time, you have to build them from scratch,” said Kraus. (Bird now says it also works with multiple partners to make custom vehicles for its service.) Lime’s manufacturing record hasn’t been spotless. Last year it pulled about 2,000 vehicles from the streets after some began to smolder or even catch fire. The company blamed manufacturing problems related to the battery used by Segway Ninebot, one of its suppliers. Segway Ninebot accused Lime of not properly maintaining its fleet. The two companies stopped working together shortly thereafter. Lime currently works with at least three Chinese manufacturers, including Dong Guan Honglin Industrial Co., according to two people with direct knowledge of Lime’s operations. Replacing these relationships with new ones outside of China would come with at least short-term spikes in cost, according to Chang, the former supply chain manager. Even if Lime did move manufacturing facilities to a country like Vietnam, it would likely have to ship raw materials from China, or source locally. Lime would also lose the benefit of its experience in China. “When you go to another country, they have a lot of quality issues, manufacturing issues,” said Chang. Lime’s decision to stock up ahead of the tariffs is also leading to a new liability in the coming months. The company maintains at least a dozen warehouses across the U.S., where it keeps unused vehicles overnight, or for longer stints, according to Chang. At times there have been tens of thousands of scooters sitting in storage, according to two people familiar with the company. Storage capacity can be stretched in the winter in cold-weather cities, when many of Lime’s scooters enter a state of semi-hibernation. All those tariff-free scooters Lime bought in last year will have to go somewhere, and warehouse space isn’t free. \--With assistance from Mark Niquette.To contact the author of this story: Candy Cheng in San Francisco at email@example.comTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Joshua Brustein at firstname.lastname@example.orgFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Larry Page and Sergey Brin just got a $2.3 billion retirement gift from investors.The Google co-founders, who announced Tuesday they were stepping down from day-to-day management of parent Alphabet Inc., added more than $1 billion each to their net worth today as the firm’s shares rose 1.9% in New York.They each own about 6% of the internet giant and still control Alphabet through special voting shares.The gains come as investors welcome Sundar Pichai’s elevation to chief executive officer of Alphabet, replacing Page in the role. It means the three most valuable U.S. tech firms no longer have a founder at the helm.Like Apple Inc.’s Tim Cook and Microsoft Corp.’s Satya Nadella, Pichai is a long-time lieutenant who steadily worked his way up the corporate ladder. More than 15 years after he joined the Mountain View-based company he’s replacing Page in the top job. Brin is stepping down as president, leaving Pichai as undisputed leader.The shift reflects Google’s accession into corporate middle age. Started in a California garage by Brin and Page in 1998, the firm had revenue of $137 billion in 2018 and today boasts a market value of $893 billion. That’s behind only Apple and Microsoft on the S&P 500 Index.Founder FreeOther Silicon Valley giants are also founder free. Larry Ellison’s Oracle Corp. is headed by Safra Catz, though Ellison is still involved as the company’s chairman. Some younger companies -- such as Uber Technologies Inc. and We Co. -- have turned to outsiders amid turmoil.There are some notable exceptions. Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg are still at the helm of Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. respectively, which are the fourth- and fifth-largest U.S. companies by market value.Such a transition has proved to be a boon for Apple and Microsoft. The iPhone maker’s shares have risen by more than 400% since Cook took the helm in August 2011 and Microsoft has quadrupled on Nadella’s watch.Since 2015, Pichai has served as CEO of Google, by far the company’s biggest division. During his time in that job, Alphabet’s shares doubled in price even as the company wrestled with increased scrutiny from regulators and lawmakers.Unusual PositionTheir success has placed the trio among America’s richest executives. Each are worth hundreds of millions of dollars thanks to stock awards they’ve received.Pichai, 47, is in an unusual position for a top executive. Unlike Cook and Nadella, who stand fourth and sixth on Bloomberg’s executive pay ranking, almost all of Pichai’s stock awards have vested, filings show.By contrast, Cook, 59, still has as many as 1.8 million restricted stock units worth about $500 million set to vest through August 2021, according to a recent filing. Nadella, 52, could earn as many as 1.8 million Microsoft shares through a long-term performance-based stock award that is currently worth about $275 million.The Alphabet board will likely move to rectify this discrepancy. But however they decide to compensate Pichai, he’ll still lag far behind the wealth accrued by Brin and Page. The pair have a combined net worth of about $126 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.(Updates net worth gains and share price in second paragraph.)\--With assistance from Anders Melin, Mark Bergen and Gerrit De Vynck.To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Metcalf in London at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Pierre Paulden at firstname.lastname@example.org, Steven Crabill, Peter EichenbaumFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Speaking at a meeting before the Economic Club of New York, Khosrowshahi was talking about his time at the helm of the ride-sharing and food delivery company, a position he took on in 2017. "We can extend that (food delivery) model to essentially every single local retailer, so that anything you want in New York City can be delivered to you, hopefully in under 30 minutes," Khosrowshahi said, when asked about the future of Uber's business.
Estonia based ride-hailing app Bolt plans to double its service in South Africa to include at least 30 more cities and suburbs, the firm said on Wednesday, as it steps up its challenge to Uber's dominance. Bolt said in a statement South Africa would be "a big recipient of this investment" as it intensified its focus on the continent and Europe. In South Africa Bolt and Uber have an estimated 25%/75% split of the ride hailing market.
(Bloomberg) -- London Mayor Sadiq Khan isn’t impressed with comments made by Uber Technologies Inc. in the wake of its recent ban in the city.Khan said the company had been “brash” and “aggressive” compared with how it reacted to its 2017 license revocation by regulator Transport for London.“The point I’d make to Uber is that they said the same thing two years ago but then went to the courts, put their hands up, and said ‘Transport for London was right, and we’ve made these improvements,’” Khan said in an interview with Bloomberg on Wednesday.“Two weeks ago when TfL turned them down, they were quite brash, quite aggressive,” he added. “We’ll see when they go to the courts whether they change their tone.”In November, London’s transportation regulator, TfL, refused to give Uber a new license to operate in the city. It said the company had failed to adequately verify drivers’ identities and safeguard the service for passenger. Uber said it planned to appeal the decision, and Jamie Heywood, head of the company’s U.K. business, said a flaw in its app enabling the rogue trips had been fixed.In 2017, when TfL first denied the company a new license, Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi immediately began a charm offensive, flying out to the capital to meet with city regulators and personally negotiate a deal. He said at the time he wanted to “make things right.”Last week he was more blunt, calling the decision “just wrong” on his Twitter page shortly after it was made public. In a statement, Uber said “we have fundamentally changed our business over the last two years and are setting the standard on safety.”Asked if he’d spoken to Khosrowshahi since November’s ban, Khan said he hadn’t, but that “it’s not me he needs the conversation with, it’s with the regulator.”To contact the reporters on this story: Nate Lanxon in London at email@example.com;Guy Johnson in London at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Giles Turner at email@example.comFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
The ad was one of the most complained about of the year, with viewers saying it suggested they could order food from different restaurants to be delivered together.
(Bloomberg) -- Courier app Fetchr, once one of the Middle East’s largest startups, raised as much as $10 million in emergency funding to help avoid collapse.The Dubai-based company, which offers delivery and logistics services to e-commerce firms, is also in the process of securing as much as $25 million in additional funding to turn the company around, according to people with knowledge of the matter.Existing Fetchr investors, who had put up more than $50 million since the company was founded in 2012, will see the value of their shares diluted to almost zero, according to a letter to investors seen by Bloomberg and the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.A spokesman for Fetchr confirmed the company had raised up to $10 million in financing from existing and new investors. He also said a majority of shareholders had approved a new financial and board structure.‘Rapidly Diminishing’Fetchr, once one of the rising stars of the Middle East’s nascent startup scene, was valued at almost $300 million during its latest fund-raising round in 2017.Hunting Unicorns in the Desert: The Sudden Rise of Arab StartupsSilicon Valley investors such as New Enterprise Associates, Nokia Oyj’s venture capital arm and Winklevoss Capital are among its backers, as well as prominent regional investors such as malls operator Majid Al Futtaim.The company last month warned investors that its “financial performance has been rapidly diminishing over the past twelve months” and it had considered a sale of the business or filing for bankruptcy, according to the letter.Fetchr’s rescue includes prominent businessmen such as Iyad Malas, former chief executive officer of Majid Al Futtaim, and Hussein Hachem, who led logistics firm Aramex for five years, said the Fetchr spokesman. As part of the plan, a search is underway to replace the CEO and one of the company’s two founders, Idriss Al Rifai, the people said. Fetchr’s other founder, Joy Ajlouny, left last year, the people said.Uber, Mastercard Deals Mark Arrival of Mideast Tech Sector Fetchr marketed itself as a tech company that delivers packages from mostly online retailers in six countries and almost 500 cities across the Middle East, using the customers’ phone as a GPS location.To contact the reporter on this story: Nicolas Parasie in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Stefania Bianchi at email@example.com, Claudia Maedler, Shaji MathewFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- When two Irish brothers started Stripe Inc. together in 2010, there was little question about where they should put their headquarters. It had to be California.Now, though, Stripe is leaving the tech mecca of San Francisco, awash in tech talent and investor cash, and is in the process of moving its main office about 10 miles to neighboring South San Francisco. What’s more, the company—whose $35 billion valuation makes it one of the world’s most valuable startups—is currently building up its staff in another state altogether: New York.In September, Stripe opened an office near Wall Street the company told Bloomberg, and plans to add several hundred employees there in the coming years. The startup’s planned New York growth is on track to outpace its headquarters’.The city has long been a hub for finance, and more recently for tech. “New York is a global leader,’’ said David Singleton, Stripe’s chief technology officer. “It’s just an important market for entrepreneurialism and startups.”Stripe is one of many Bay Area-based fintech companies now building up a New York presence. Plaid Technologies Inc., which connects various apps to customers’ bank accounts, has relocated or hired more than 100 people in the city over the last year, or about a quarter of its staff. Affirm Inc., the lending startup founded by former PayPal Holdings Inc. co-founder Max Levchin, also recently opened up a Manhattan office that has about 50 employees, the company said. And Brex Inc., the business credit card startup most recently valued at $2.6 billion, has permanently relocated its chief financial officer to Midtown, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing information that’s not yet public.In some ways, the moves are natural for tech startups with financial ambitions. Despite the growing success of fintech upstarts hailing from San Francisco, Wall Street institutions remain on top of the financial world, and New York offers an appealing pool of potential hires. Uber Technologies Inc., for example, announced the creation of a new unit called Uber Money in October, and will be shopping for fintech talent in and around Manhattan, according to a CNBC report. At Affirm, the company’s New York employees’ resumes are littered with names like Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs Group Inc.Often, financial technology companies that are just getting started set up shop in San Francisco to be close to tech workers with experience designing products at big companies, said Mark Goldberg, a partner at Index Ventures. San Francisco's resident tech giant include Uber, Lyft Inc., Twitter Inc. and Airbnb Inc. But “what they don’t understand is the industry,” he said, adding that eventually, many fintech companies look eastward for hiring. “What I think happens is that companies that start on the West Coast end up recognizing that they want to compliment that DNA with capital market expertise, and with people that have been in and around banks.”Meanwhile, tech epicenter San Francisco has become less hospitable for some companies. Last year, voters passed a new tax on businesses that will go to fund homelessness relief efforts, and taxes financial services companies at a higher rate than other types of businesses. Stripe’s decision to leave the city was widely regarded by local officials as related to the passage of the new tax. The company, which strongly opposed the measure, denied that taxes were a major factor in the decision to move.Stripe instead pointed to the limited office space in San Francisco. The city’s asking prices for commercial rent, which are the highest in the nation, climbed 7% over the last year to record levels in the third quarter, according to real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield. And adding to the region’s woes: In recent months fires caused widespread power outages in homes around the Bay Area.Still, none of fintech unicorns Bloomberg spoke to have plans to move their headquarters away from the West Coast. Stripe, while hiring a few hundred people in New York, currently has more than 1,000 employees in Silicon Valley. Affirm’s San Francisco office is many times larger than its Manhattan outpost. And New York-based financial services startups tend to have stubbornly lower valuations than their high-flying West Coast counterparts.For Plaid, New York is a homecoming of sorts. The startup left the city in 2013 after winning TechCrunch’s Disrupt New York Hackathon, and, seeking proximity to engineers and investors, moved its headquarters to San Francisco. “Us coming back and building a really big presence is a strong signal for NYC tech, which has made huge strides in terms of client base, talent, and funding,’’ said Charley Ma, Plaid’s New York City growth manager, who moved from the West Coast for the job last fall. Plaid’s chief executive officer, however, will remain in San Francisco.(Corrects location of early headquarters in first paragraph.)To contact the author of this story: Julie Verhage in New York at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Anne VanderMey at email@example.com, Mark MilianFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.
Washington is set to take on the problem of “call spoofing,” but what will it mean for businesses that use the technique for legitimate reasons?