Mobile app based car rental service, Uber, has launched its service in India. The popular iPhone app, with which you can request for a cab for rent, has chosen Bangalore as the first city, where it will roll out its service. The official Uber blog shared that they have been rolling out “Secret Ubers” to test out the service and let some celebrity users like Raghu Dixit and Vasundhara Das, to use the product. (Read all about it here)
The blog also shared in the next several weeks, Uber will be in “secret testing mode” in Bangalore; availability will be limited as we work to make more cars available and test their pricing. I spoke to Uber India’s spokesperson to understand more about the company’s intentions of coming to India and the plans that Uber has for the market in the long term.
YS: Talk us a little about the intention behind coming to a market like India.
Uber: In fast developing countries, like India, there's a gap due to underdeveloped traffic infrastructure, which we think we can address. Furthermore, the option of being able to driven around in a luxury car in Indian cities, by top class drivers, amidst the traffic and its hectic nature is quite an attractive proposition for Indians.
YS: After having decided to enter a market like India, what are some challenges that you were expecting to face?
Uber: Think of it this way; our challenges are city based. Indian cities are very diverse and different. You have the rush and bustle of Delhi, to the compact nature of Mumbai to the pockets of dense industrial population that you find in Bangalore. This has been the case with whichever market that we’ve worked in. But in the long run, we want to serve all of India and be relevant wherever we go.
YS: In a price sensitive market like India, how have you gone about pricing you offering?
Uber: Now that’s something that we’ve thought through and given the kind of service that we’re providing, I think it’s fairly reasonable. (The pricing on the site is quite attractive. Check it out here)
YS: How big is the India team for Uber?
Uber: We like to keep things small and lean. Like a startup, we’re just a few people in the Bangalore. Having said that, the people in the team are top notch and that’s how it’s going to be in the future as well. (The blog also stated that the team is looking for a Community Manager)
The coming of Uber in India is interesting. Given it’s recent 258 million USD funding from Google Ventures, gives it significant financial muscle to scale rapidly in India. The pricing that they’ve offered in India is very attractive which is quite an offering for the aspirational Indian.
Sign up for Uber’s Private Beta here.