Uber thumbs a lift with SA police, ambulances to boost global revenues

EDINBURGH — Uber may be worth up to $120bn, the Wall Street Journal reported recently in an article reflecting on the company’s prospects as a public company. But, as Breakingviews notes: Uber’s rapid growth is slowing and there are no profits in sight. “Last quarter, Uber’s revenue was $2.8 billion, which is about 60 percent higher than the same period last year. That’s an astonishing growth rate for such a large company. Yet growth is slowing, and the company isn’t profitable. It lost another $891 million in the latest three-month period,” says the opinion leader. What’s more, says Seeking Alpha, competition is intensifying. Competitor Lyft (LYFT) is also planning to list its shares – and if it does so before Uber, it could soak up capital to sharpen its edge. Enter Africa, where South Africa’s Uber is talking up its plans to expand in the country. That will be easier said than done, as the number of Uber drivers has already mushroomed and there is pressure to make it harder for these freelance taxi operators to compete with traditional taxi businesses. Uber has come up with a new way to shore up support for the service, offering to provide emergency response. – Jackie Cameron

By Loni Prinsloo

Uber app(Bloomberg) – Uber Technologies Inc. is teaming up with a South African firm to enable customers and drivers in the country to use the app to summon medical and police assistance.

The service will be provided by Iceplus, a Durban-based company that’s developed an app to access armed response and other forms of emergency help. The product will be incorporated into the Uber app, providing an extra layer of security in a country with one of the world’s worst crime rates.

“We are in roll-out mode at the moment, after about six to eight months of developing a number of new security measures on the app,” Sachin Kansal, head of Uber’s product management, said in an interview in Johannesburg on Friday. “Other security measures include aspects such as data security to protect against any information breaches by hackers or others.” The creation of Uber has often resulted in clashes with more traditional taxi operators in South African and around the world. The company plans to extend the security technology globally.

“We are focused on increasing safety features all the time,” Kamal said. “We hope that the rest of the industry will follow as well.