Steered by former Obama adviser, Uber to ride on car-pooling in India | business | Hindustan Times
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Steered by former Obama adviser, Uber to ride on car-pooling in India

Taxi-hiring app Uber is looking at ride sharing as its next focus area in India. David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager during the 2008 elections, and currently Uber’s chief strategist, is spearheading the company’s expansion drive in the country.

business Updated: Feb 11, 2016 01:35 IST
Sunny Sen
David Plouffe, Uber’s chief strategist, is spearheading the company’s expansion drive in the country.
David Plouffe, Uber’s chief strategist, is spearheading the company’s expansion drive in the country.

Taxi-hiring app Uber is looking at ride sharing as its next focus area in India. David Plouffe, Barack Obama’s campaign manager during the 2008 elections, and currently Uber’s chief strategist, is spearheading the company’s expansion drive in the country.

Car-pooling, where car owners pick up other commuters on the way and split the cost of the trip, has picked up in the country recently. It particularly became a success when the Delhi government imposed the odd-even rule (odd and even-numbered cars were to ply on alternate days) in the Capital last month. Ola, along with rival Uber, was quick to cash in on the opportunity.

“India has a sixth of the world’s population. A lot of investment has been made here, in the US, and in China. These are the three places we are making most of our financial investments,” said Plouffe.

“It (car-pooling) brings economic opportunity for drivers, and helps in making cities work better... As you do that you create a lot of job opportunities, so we need to focus on how ride sharing can be a part of our 5-15 year strategy,” said Plouffe, who is also on board of the taxi aggregator.

Uber, which started in San Francisco in 2010, is currently present in over 300 cities in 60 countries.

India is already the third-largest country in terms of number of drivers, it has 250,000 of them, for the company. An important number given Uber’s business model — it is a technology platform that creates a marketplace for drivers and commuters, and makes money out of those connections that lead into rides.

And if ride sharing can become mainstream and 10-15% commuters start using it, it will have a “profound impact” on cities, Plouffe said. We want to focus better on cities and people living in them… the congestion issues, and how to build the cities of the future. It is clear that ride sharing plays an important part.”

But India is far from being profitable, unlike some markets like San Francisco and Los Angeles. “Our goal is to run a profitable business everywhere, like in more mature markets. We are still in growth and investment phase here in India and China,” Plouffe said.