Founder Garrett Camp Drives The Uber Car Ride
Whom among us wouldn’t like a chauffeur to whisk us around to our destinations in comfort, available at our beck and call, leaving us to travel unencumbered by the demands of the road? I know I would. If I never had to fight for a cab in the Lower East Side of Manhattan on a weekend ever again, my blood pressure reading might actually resemble someone’s born in my generation. Well, Uber.com might not make my fantasy affordable just yet, but the company’s car services have at least given me reason to hold out hope.
How It Works
Uber is an on-demand car service. Using the company’s iPhone and Android app, you can summon a private driver. You set your pick up location using Google maps, and go wherever you need to after you’re in an Uber car. Receive texts updates with estimated arrival time and announcing your ride appearing. (Drivers usually arrive in under ten minutes.) Pay using a credit card on file, so you don’t need to worry about having cash on hand, tip included. While the idea of car service is hardly new, the slick hook up with mobile applications is pretty cool. And convenient.
Here’s a list of cities where you can find Uber so far:
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Diego
- San Francisco
- Washington D.C.
- Atlanta and Vancouver–for secret Ubers only (Huh?)
The company operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but admits coverage is lagging between 1am and 4am on weekdays. Uber began by offering luxury sedan cars, but is trying to expand to include the little guy who can’t afford premium car service. Beginning recently in San Francisco and NYC, Uber X will now send hybrid vehicles to pick up ride-seekers. The base fare is $5 and $3.25 after that. OK, still not as cheap as a taxi, but the reduced hassle of a guaranteed ride, the ease of a tip included fare which can be paid with a credit card on file, and the expedience of the service may attract more budget-conscious consumers. Perhaps as the fleet of cars increases we might look forward to a dip in price? Please…
Pulling Out All The Stops
Besides introducing hybrid cars, Uber has made other efforts to demonstrate that it hopes to cater to more than its wealthy clientele. During July (National Ice Cream Month), the company offered on-demand ice cream delivery. A minimum $12 order of 5 ice creams brought the ice cream truck to you. Might we look forward to a combination of driver-ice cream service in the future?
So far, Uber has raised over $44 million that will help the company expand its service into more cities. The latest Series B round of $32 million came from Menlo Ventures, Jeff Bezos, Goldman Sachs, Benchmark Capital and others. The car service might be a massive hit, but investors might also be very keen to partner with founder Garrett Camp.
Camp has a bit of a Midas touch. After earning a Master’s Degree in Software Engineering from the University of Calgary, he left the land of hockey to found StumbleUpon.com. That web discovery platform only went on to grow to 25 million users. Camp has also invested in WillCall, Behance, Soundtracking, PrismSkyLabs and other startups. A legend in the making?