The settlement is a drop in the bucket for Instacart, which just closed a new $400 million investment that values the startup at around $3 billion. The company has now raised nearly $700 million from venture capital firms and strategic partners like Whole Foods.
At least eight companies have been offering what they call on-demand gas service across the Bay Area. Building on the endless demand for convenience, these new services allow residents or businesses to schedule a gas truck to swing by and fuel up any requested vehicle, saving customers the hassle of a gas-station trip. The companies insist the service is safe, cheap and simple.
But is it legal? That’s not entirely clear. Like many other start-ups, the emerging industry been operating in a legal gray area, pushing forward a business plan while safety regulators try to catch up.
These three incidents, separated by three oceans, represent a serious threat to Uber’s business model. Most of the 81 countries in which Uber operates—with the exception of the US—have some form of value-added tax. Some call it GST, others VAT. Uber seems to have so far managed to avoid paying these taxes. (Uber didn’t respond to our request for a list of countries where it pays these taxes and where it doesn’t.) Thus, any change in policy could mean that Uber will owe hundreds of millions of additional dol
Ever since couriers joined the union we have been raising the issue of the complete lack of workers’ rights in the “gig economy”. The lack of employment rights, and the total impunity with which companies have been allowed to act, is nothing short of astounding. A prime example is the case of the courier firm Hermes, which has been accused of abusive practices and failing to pay the minimum wage. Similarly, despite the fact that bike courier Maggie Dewhurst wears a CitySprint uniform, has a CitySprint ID an
Mary’s story looks different to different people. Within the ghoulishly cheerful Lyft public-relations machinery, Mary is an exemplar of hard work and dedication—the latter being, perhaps, hard to come by in a company that refuses to classify its drivers as employees. Mary’s entrepreneurial spirit—taking ride requests while she was in labor!—is an “exciting” example of how seamless and flexible app-based employment can be. Look at that hustle! You can make a quick buck with Lyft anytime, even when your cervix is dilating.
The ride-sharing service announced that Uber subscribers can open their phone app on Thursday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for tail-wagging affection. The cost is $30, and Uber says a portion of the fee will go toward supporting its partner, Secondhand Hounds in Eden Prairie.
By June 2016, drivers using the Lyft on-demand ride-hailing app had earned $100 million in tips—a milestone that had taken four years from the company’s founding to achieve. It took just another nine months for Lyft drivers to collect another $100 million, an illustration of the startup’s growth in the past year.
Uber’s tactics here go beyond what has been previously disclosed about the $70 billion ride-hailing giant, and feels uniquely Uber—secretive and somewhat underhanded. For one thing, this particular use of what is now called Heaven View hasn’t been previously reported, and the tool itself has been cited in an ongoing lawsuit involving one of the company’s former security experts.
This is a key point—perhaps the key point that will determine whether Uber lives or dies. Uber isn’t worth $70 billion because it is actually worth $70 billion. Its valuation is that high despite the fact that it’s not profitable, and despite the fact that it has little protection from competitors baked into what it is and does. Uber’s valuation, in other words, is a reflection of the global marketplace and not a reflection of Uber’s own durability as a company.