This week, I put some questions to David Rohrsheim, the general manager at fast-growing US-founded startup Uber.
For those who don’t know, can you explain what Uber does?
Uber is an on-demand private car service that you order via your smartphone. You can download a free Uber app, set your pickup location and within minutes a professional driver will pick you up in a luxury vehicle and drop you off at your destination, all without pulling out your wallet.
It seems like we’re one of the first countries post US and UK to be ‘Uberfied’ – did you reach out to bring it to Oz?
Sydney is a perfect candidate for Uber: it is a highly social city, not well served by parking or public transportation, with strong smartphone adoption. But the real answer is because I pitched it to our CEO, Travis Kalanick, when I was looking for a job as I graduated from my MBA in July. Uber has plans to launch in a long list of cities as soon as we can find General Managers we like.
Are you tapping into any existing taxi companies? How is the local community responding?
Uber does not own any cars or employ any drivers. We partner with local Hire Car (“HC plates”) operators.
The response from customers has been tremendous, so I’ll let them speak for themselves:
Will we be seeing UBERx as well as the black cabs around town? What cars should we keep an eye out for?
Our initial fleet comprises Holden Caprice and Audi A8’s.
Who’s on the team and who are you hiring?
I’m super happy to have Oscar Peppitt onboard as our Community Manager (say g’day to him at @Uber_Sydney), and Mike Abbott as our Driver Operations Manager.
PS: Uber is hosting a Happy Hour next Wednesday at The Passage to gather feedback from Sydneysiders. You are all welcome! http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4691330897/efbnen