For the past eight months, he travels the world to restart the machine. Francophile, Barney Harford, n° 2 Uber since January after having long worked the head of Expedia, driver the global strategy of the us platform. Diversification, marketing, projects… the right arm of The new boss, Dara Khosrowshahi (he also passed through Expedia), and book exclusive to Express his vision of the future of the company to 75 million users in the world and shows its ambitions in France.
EXPRESS : Come to Paris, it is always a bit special for an officer of Uber, right ?
Barney Harford : Yes, you’re right, it is here that the idea for Uber is born, it is a market that is super important to us. France is a great partner, and it is for this reason that we will invest 20 million euros over five years for a tech center in Paris, dedicated to Uber Elevate, our project specializing in flying vehicles. The idea is to try to attract talent, particularly in the machine learning. To be the most effective way to capture the best, it must be present there where they live and where they grew up, these specialists. And Paris has great schools. It should be here for these researchers to help us imagine the future of mobility.
Listen to Sébastien Pommier us about his interview with Barney Harford and consolidation strategy in which it committed today Uber (on Soundcloud).
You have just made the acquisition of Jump, a service of electric bikes, and invest in scooters Lime. What is the relationship with Uber ?
We see Uber as a solution to multi-modal transportation. We’re going to integrate those services as bricks in the current application. You can book a bike or scooter electric for short trips, a driver for longer distances. Of course, you can’t bike in August in Dubai, or Chicago in January. But we think that this means of transport can also be competitive. Specifically, we have kept the team from Jump so that it continues to develop the program. When everything is ready, we will conduct a major campaign to make it known. It will be launched in Berlin soon. And then Paris, but, before that, we will discuss with the city council to obtain an agreement.
scooter electric Lime in Paris, one of the 70 cities where the start-up is installed.
“An agreement with the town hall”, the discourse changes compared to the first launch of Uber…
Yes, this is definitely the case. This is our vision of the new Uber, a version 2.0, sort of. We want to be a partner of the cities. Our goals are really in line with their own. We want to be a complement to the public transport and other modes of transportation, or a solution to take you from point a to point B. It is the sense of partnership signed with the city of Nice, where we will offer a support night [at the fixed rate of 6 euros] when the tram or the bus does not circulate any more.
what is it that has changed in Uber since the departure of its founder, Travis Kalanick, a year ago ?
We have been very clear on how we want to drive for Uber. We need to change the values and the corporate culture. Travis believed in small structures 150 people maximum and kept the teams separated. Dara [Khosrowshahi] has a different vision. We want the transparency, openness, so that everyone knows what is happening. Let the managers make decisions, put in place a management that is more vertical. The key to all this is communication and sharing. It is important to ensure that people take risks. Sometimes, we make mistakes, but we must learn from them. If you only “hold” the numbers of the week, this is not serious. But one must understand why. Overall, Travis was a long-term vision, but the management of the company was the short-term performance.
The former boss of Uber, Travis Kalanick, San Francisco, February 7, 2018.
Is it that you always have the ambition to enter the Stock market next year and be profitable in 2019 ?
On the timing of our ipo, nothing changes. For profitability, this is not a concern. It could be profitable in the very short term if we wanted. But we believe that the investments we make in this moment we will be very profitable in the future.
Precisely, these investments always have the goal of winning over new markets and cities ? How do you spend the money ?
We are present in more than 600 cities in over 65 countries, who are all of different markets, with so many priorities. Sometimes, we invest heavily because there is a lot of competition. I was in India recently, a country on which we focus a lot, because the growth potential in the long term is very important. We also do a lot of advertising to build our brand. We have become one of the largest global players in the mobility. The challenge is that our customers open up the app wherever they are. Uber is a global brand.
let’s Talk about price : a lot of customers complain about the price increase…
We are convinced that there are not enough drivers to meet demand. [According to our information, there would be today in France 28 000 drivers for Uber and 3 million users.] It is the result of new regulations related to the act Grandguillaume. It is very important to work with the authorities to find solutions and give access to more drivers on the platform.
Grab takes control of the activities of transport and delivery of food from Uber in Southeast Asia.
What is now the division’s Uber Eats ?
We do not disclose precise figures, since growth is extremely rapid [about $ 6 billion of orders in the world in 2017], and I think that we will soon be the n° 1 of the delivery. Between Uber and Uber Eats, the creation of value is very different. The model of Uber, it is the transport. In the restoration, this is the restaurant that captures the value. But the average basket is probably more important on the food than on transport. Today, Uber Eats remains small, but, in terms of growth, it is a rocket !
Despite the fatal accident in march in Arizona, do you always in the autonomous car ?
Yes, of course. This is not yet for tomorrow, we must plan for the long term, but autonomous vehicles will be a success and they will lower the number of traffic accidents. In fifty years, everyone will have one. This is a very important investment for the company. But, for the moment, we put our tests on hold.
ZOOM : temporary licence in London
in Addition to the Channel, Uber is in suspension. At the end of June, the court of Westminster has decided to extend, but for fifteen months only, the license of the platform with the authority of transport for London (TFL). The latter reproached him in particular for his lax reporting of crimes and faults in the control of the criminal records of its drivers. The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, welcomed the judgment, believing that Uber, after “years of bad behaviour”, had ended by admitting that the decision of TFL to him to remove his licence in September 2017 was “totally justified”.
The HR director resigns
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Uber, success and controversy
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The survey was unobtrusive, his departure is just as important. Liane Hornsey, the HR director of the group, has left his functions at the beginning of July, reports the Reuters news agency. Whistleblowers anonymous, accused him of having spread reports of racial discrimination within the company. She had taken up her position there for eighteen months, at a time when the company was already in the middle of a storm with allegations of sexual harassment and other scandals that have provoked the departure of the founder, Travis Kalanick.