London mayor supports compromise efforts between regulator and Uber — Reuters

This is a clear sign that Uber can right the ship in London. The negotiation will be the first genuine test of Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s “humility” campaign with transportation regulators.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said on Sunday he supported efforts by the city’s transport regulator Transport for London to try to reach a compromise with Uber after the taxi app confirmed it would appeal in a running row over workers’ rights.

Source: London mayor supports compromise efforts between regulator and Uber

Lyft expands beyond the U.S. with Toronto launch in December

The North American rideshare market share battle is on. Lyft expands into its first market outside the U.S. with the launch of Toronto, after gaining share throughout 2017 in the U.S. Uber, which should have even more cash soon, will counter with improved driver services and, we should expect, lower prices and subsidies for riders, as it attempts to retain customers. Prices will race lower, further challenging Uber and Lyft’s plans for 2019 IPOs.

Lyft is growing beyond its home market of the U.S., with a launch planned next month in Toronto, the largest city in Canada. Residents in the greater Toronto area (and nearby Hamilton will be able to hail vehicles from five of its service options starting in December.

Source: Lyft expands beyond the U.S. with Toronto launch in December

Uber Approves SoftBank’s Multi-Billion Dollar Investment Offer – Bloomberg

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has his first victory and a platform to recast Uber’s business. But you’d never know it, as the story is one of Travis Kalanick settling his boardroom differences. Uber gains $1B in cash and existing shareholders and employees are in a position to sell shares. Watching who cashes out, and how much is sold privately to SoftBank, will tell much about the direction Uber will go.

After a long negotiation with Uber, SoftBank agreed to buy shares at a single price as long as sellers were barred from working together to push up the price. Then Kalanick threw a wrench in the deal, insisting that Benchmark put a hold on its lawsuit against him before he would approve it. Finally, this week, Benchmark relented after Uber’s new Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi and other board members urged the firm to do so, two of the people said.

Source: Uber Approves SoftBank’s Multi-Billion Dollar Investment Offer – Bloomberg

Postmates takes on Amazon, Instacart | Retail Leader

“Fresh” is Amazon’s delivery service, and it has not gone well. What brand equity does Instacart get from copying their primary competitor’s name?

The launch of Fresh, a new category for Postmates that curates high quality groceries and ingredients, is rolling out the same day as the company’s new app design. This means customers can now get pesto, paper towels, LaCroix, Halo Top, Kombucha, free range chicken, prosciutto, salmon filet, organic apples, avocados  —  and pretty much all the essentials they need — in minutes.

Source: Postmates takes on Amazon, Instacart | Retail Leader

Don’t rush new rules for Airbnb, short-term rentals | The Seattle Times

Airbnb and VRBO face new regulation in Seattle. Different neighborhoods may have their own rental limits, providing more flexibility in core business districts. Amendments to the regs may limit hosts to offering their primary residence and one additional home for rent.

Because the city has spotty data on the proliferation of short-term rentals throughout the city, it remains murky how many current property owners would be able to skirt the cap on the number of units rented under the current proposal — let alone if the exemption area were to be expanded. This ambiguity threatens the legislation’s stated goal of keeping more apartments on the market as long-term housing for Seattle residents, as opposed to lodging for visitors.

Source: Don’t rush new rules for Airbnb, short-term rentals | The Seattle Times

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says he wants 2019 IPO — CNBC

Much of interest in this interview with Andrew Ross Sorkin and Dara Khosrowshahi, including a frank statement that Uber has been “immature” in its dealings with regulators globally.

The underlying news is that Uber and Lyft are in a race to initial public offerings in 2019. Whether SoftBank is involved or not, Khosrowshahi has committed to provide liquidity to investors.

“We have all of the disadvantages of being a public company, as far as the spotlight on us, without any of the advantages,” he said in his first high-profile appearance since he became CEO. “So Travis [Kalanick] and the whole board now agree we should just go public. The numbers support it.”

Source: Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says he wants 2019 IPO

Uber is asking drivers if they want to provide other on-demand services – Recode

An expected move by Uber, though one that requires another layer of vetting of workers, too. Delivering services in the home is not a simple commodity business, but one that grows on trust. People want to know the service provider is qualified and safe.

“We would like to ask about your interest in receiving requests from Uber to perform other types of tasks on a flexible basis. Task requests would be similar to ride requests from Uber. A request would be sent through the Uber app for a task. If interested, an Uber partner would accept the request and then travel to meet the request at the specified task location.”

Source: Uber is asking drivers if they want to provide other on-demand services – Recode

Lyft hires Uber’s pricing expert to help figure out its impact on the city of the future – The Verge

Two things about this news: 1.) Lyft is more attractive than Uber as a career destination right now, which must change for Uber’s evolution to succeed, and; 2.) Lyft’s participatory approach to designing a post-driving world is preferable to Uber’s historically domineering approach to city government.

Then, there is this quote from van Ryzin: “To me, it’s about how all these modes of transportation integrate… how do you smash all that stuff together seamlessly.” It is not simply a combination of transportation services that must mesh into a new consumer tool. Logistics and personal services integration are essential to reconfiguring local customer experience.

Garrett van Ryzin, a professor at Columbia Business School and Cornell Tech, will lead Lyft’s new Marketplace Labs, where he’ll oversee a team of applied scientists and technologists working on enhancing the current ride-sharing experience and better integrating Lyft with public transportation systems. He will report directly to Lyft’s new VP of engineering, Luc Vincent, who has been tasked with leading the company’s quest to develop its own self-driving car technology.

Source: Lyft hires Uber’s pricing expert to help figure out its impact on the city of the future – The Verge

Uber loses UK appeal bid to overturn workers’ rights decision

Uber continues to assert its service is a convenience for drivers while governments start to crackdown. The British ruling, which requires Uber provide a minimum wage per hour, is an existential threat to the company’s argument. What’s the immediate impact of this decision? It could further erode the valuation of existing Uber shareholders’ stock in the SoftBank deal. If Uber doesn’t complete that raise, its value will sink back toward where Lyft’s is currently, because Lyft is growing faster now.

“Over the last year we have made a number of changes to our app to give drivers even more control,” said Uber UK’s Acting General Manager Tom Elvidge in a statement. “The main reason why drivers use Uber is because they value the freedom to choose if, when and where they drive.”

Source: Uber loses UK appeal bid to overturn workers’ rights decision

Rideshare Startup Via Tapped to Launch First Ever On-Demand Public Transit System | Markets Insider

Via launches bus route alternatives in Arlington, Va., and Sacramento, Calif. Could these on-demand transportation networks replace the car for workers delivering services?

In Arlington, the new Via service will launch within a month, replacing the city’s single-route bus service and offering transportation options in areas of Arlington where none existed before. In West Sacramento, Via is working closely with City staff to design a groundbreaking fully dynamic city-wide service that will complement other public transportation options.

Source: Rideshare Startup Via Tapped to Launch First Ever On-Demand Public Transit System as Alternative to Bus Service in Two U.S. Cities | Markets Insider