Everyone tells him, Dara, his name. To a large extent, his surname, Khosrowshahi, is difficult to pronounce. But also with your friendly and deskomplicado characters, always in tennis, never with a tie and generally with a wide smile. He was born in Iran and has been the Chief Executive Officer for over a year and a half and is the face of Uber, the US-based company that has led the transport revolution over the last decade, and now has dozens of products ranging from electric bikes and automakers to " aerotaxis "that could fly in the next two or three years.
Thanks to Uber's invitation, EL TIEMPO visited him in his offices in San Francisco, California, where his employees are honored to have been removed from one of the worst moments when they were accused of discriminatory, sexist and targeted practices. get the highest profit margin without devoting so much attention to the method.
Today, it says that the company is becoming an inclusive employer, it is part of a solution to mobility problems that endanger most cities. Above all, they leave the limbo in which it is located in most Latin American countries, such as Colombia, where it was not regulated.
In a conversation he first asked the Colombian media the government of Ivan Duquefor the first time to publish the amount of taxes paid to the country this year.
Obviously, they are interested in Latin America. What attracts so much attention?
Not only are we interested in it, but we believe it is crucial for us. From the beginning, we invest in countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Colombia, as we believe that there is a great economic and human potential. This is the fastest growing region and our main market in terms of the number of services offered. We see that the service that people like is the source of employment for thousands of drivers, which enables people to mobilize more effectively and create economic and social development.
Of course, however, it is also a question of competition, with strong rivals such as Didi from China. They are already in Mexico and Brazil. And also local businesses. Why do you think your product is better and will prevail?
The mobility company is huge and generates about $ 6 million ($ 6 billion) a year. But when we see how people move in cities, i.e. Through cars, trains and buses, they are aware that this is a sector that has not been transformed at the level of others by technology at the primary stages of this transformation. This means that there are great opportunities. We were fortunate that we are among the first to enter the region, but we welcome competition because we believe that it forces us to be better and offer better services. Most likely, this competition will continue for at least a decade. While we will continue to innovate, we will continue to develop if we continue to offer a good, reliable service.
We were fortunate that we were among the first to enter the region, but we welcome competition because we believe that it forces us to be better off offering better services
They have been in Colombia for more than 5 years and in other countries in the region, and their legal situation is still inexhaustible. What is the main obstacle they find, and what are they suggesting to get out of this whip?
We demand the establishment of a level playing field for all transport and mobility providers. Taxis have already fixed them, but we believe that this regulation should be updated. Look, Uber is a concept that will be an important part of how people move in any place in the world. We are ready to talk with the Minister of Transport, develop rules that are healthy and honest for all.
In that sense, what kind of signals did you receive from President Duke?
I think he must be very busy. But what we believe is that we are strong players in the country. There are already 88,000 monthly drivers using the platform, and in the middle of this year, due to our operations, we already paid approximately 44,000 million pesos in taxes (a fact that has not been disclosed so far). We can be an economical engine for Colombia as a part-time and full-service generator and paying taxes. The message we sent you is very clear: we are ready to arrange in a way that is fair to all.
Uber's message seems to be a message to the traditional Taxi system: to adapt or to disappear.
All models have to be adjusted, and if they will, they will be successful. Everyone has to move, so they have the role of Taxi and Ubera. In the long term, we want not only to work with taxis, but also with buses and mass transit systems, and we share information on how people move to cities and thus can be constructive actors in shaping cities, bus stations, stations, etc.
The success of Uber and others was related to the level of Internet access, smartphones and low cost data plans. We are still lagging behind in Latin America. How much does the extension of this type of service stop?
Sometimes we sinned when we saw things from a very western perspective, where broadband infrastructure is rich and mobile, stronger. But we are also critical and when we realize that we have teamed up in India to develop an application that is designed for low-capacity phones. It is called Uber Light and started in September in Colombia. Its download takes less space and requires fewer broadband access, as it removes things like a map that has always appeared at the beginning and takes a long time to load. The application is super fast and efficient. This means that we make special changes for the world where the broadband connection is not always the same everywhere.
It is called Uber Light and started in September in Colombia. Your transfer takes less space and requires less broadband access
The problem of security in Latin America is complicated and deadlines and abuses in this type of transport are common. How are they adapting?
Security is our most important initiative. And, as you say, all markets have different challenges. In the United States and other countries, credit cards and bank information are used to identify the person's identity and a good part of their history. But in Latin America, money is often used as a form of payment, and this is why this form of verification is not possible. However, other types of filters are used. We require, for example, a link to Facebook and another form of user identification. This costs us to the extent that some do not want to give this information. We have established that the platform is as safe as possible. We also use technology to improve security. We know, for example, which areas of the city are less secure and at what times – with information collected by users and drivers, and planning routes that avoids them.
What do you say to those who accuse Ubera of contributing to pollution and traffic congestion?
Constraints and pollution are problems that every city must face when more people move towards city centers. Today, there are 50 percent of the population, but the United Nations says it will soon be two thirds. Uber, which seizures are personal cars, which is an aggravating number, is one of the traffic jams, so our technology is aimed at improving the efficiency of cars and at the same time less important. Our first step was to use passenger cars to mobilize more people and not just their owner. And this has reduced the number of cars on the streets and the space they occupy in the parking lots. The other was to look for people to share a career with other people. This service, called Uber Pool, gets even more cars from the streets. The third component to which we invest a lot and we hope that soon we will bring personal electric vehicles such as bicycles and skates to your region (2019) in order to mobilize people on smaller trips. The fourth axis of our vision is that Uber becomes a mobility platform for everyone. We want public transport services – meters, buses and taxis – in Uber to offer the most efficient way.
Do you see the future in which the concept of a private car disappears?
It does not make sense for a person to own a car for his own use. On average, the car of these vehicles uses only 5 percent of the time. Extremely underused. We believe that a combination of all these services, such as a pool, will be added to electric cars and autonomous cars, safer, quieter and more clean and unobtrusive. And a passenger car will be less and less needed.
What is Uber's bet now when he bought the Jump Wheel service and entered the skateboard market?
The electrification of these individual vehicles is in itself a revolution. Did you use them? He asks. When you enter one of them, you will find that you feel like Superman. They do not require any effort. In San Francisco, the average number of car trips is approximately 4 km. However, they are at least 30 or 40 percent less than this distance. Imagine a world in which 30 or 40 percent shorter trips can be replaced by cycling excursions that are easy to manage and even achieve the ultimate goal faster.
Believes that Elevate, aerotaxis, the future. Why?
We have the technology for developing a vertical climb and downhill vehicle that will be quiet (electrically) and safe, and that we will market since 2023. As cities grew in the third dimension, transport should also be done.
SERGIO GÓMEZ MASERI
Special Envoy EL TIEMPO