Spend Matters 50/50: Uber for Business – A Provider to Watch in 2015

100 companies - 100 days

We announced here and here our two (not ranked) lists: Spend Matters 50 To Know and 50 To Watch firms for 2015/2016. In the first case, this is our view of the 50 solution provider type organisations in the procurement industry that every senior procurement leader should be aware of and understand. The 50 To Watch are the up-and-coming firms  - those with interesting and relatively new solutions for our market. The 50 To Know are the key organisations in our industry that procurement executives need to have on their radar.

Having announced the lists, our US colleagues are now featuring each of the 100 firms in turn with an article giving an overview of each, with some headline Spend Matters thoughts on them. So on this site we will be giving you a brief extract of the US article, plus adding our own comments where we have anything useful to add from a European perspective. Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t!

Here is what our US colleagues had to say about Uber for Business:

"... One could argue Uber for Business actually reduces risk and improves compliance over alternatives. For this reason and others, Uber for Business deserves a spot on our Spend Matters 50/50 Providers to Watch list. Consider. Usage is, well, surging. When we last checked with Uber in March, “tens of thousands of businesses” had signed up for Uber for Business and trips had taken place in 200 cities and 54 countries (in fact, 1 in every 20 business riders has already taken a trip in more than one country). Procurement organizations have nothing to lose in investigating Uber for Business. After all, it’s free. Download it. And put it on your “one to watch” and investigate list."

You can read more of what our US colleagues have to say here. In terms of Europe, Uber has faced a lot more protests and issues than in the States. In come cities, such as London, protests have come mainly from existing taxi firms and drivers, with support from people such as the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. But in other countries, the authorities are looking very sceptically at Uber, its business model and the effect it might have on existing markets, people and business practice. As the New York Times reported recently:

"The French authorities have been investigating Uber since November on charges that it is organizing transportation services illegally. The company’s offices in Paris were raided in March by the police, who seized documents, computers and phones."

So as far as we are aware, Uber for Business has not really got off the ground here in Europe. It may well do in time, so watch this space, but at the moment Uber has a more fundamental battle on its hands to establish its position generally in countries such as France, Germany and Italy, where there has been a real push-back against the firm.

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