Category Archives: Collaborative Consumption

Meet Uber’s newly promoted chief product officer, Manik Gupta

Manik Gupta got his first taste of solving logistics nightmares when, fresh out of college, he was delivering Palm Pilots around Singapore. He’d started a precursor to Groupon called BuyItTogether. “We were a full-stack marketplace where we were also delivering the goods. That’s what caused us to not have good profit margins. Actually, zero profit margins,” he recalls with a laugh. His new gig isn’t earning profits either. Uber lost nearly $1 billion last quarter. But the company sees Gupta’s experience with delivery and maps as crucial […]

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Uber launches rider loyalty Rewards like credits & upgrades 9 cities

Uber’s new loyalty program incentivizes you not to check Lyft or the local competitor. Riders earn points for all the money they spend on Uber and Uber Eats that score them $5 credits, upgrades to nicer cars, access to premium support and even flexible cancellations that waive the fee if they rebook within 15 minutes. Uber Rewards launches today in nine cities before rolling out to the whole U.S. in the next few months, with points for scooters and bikes coming soon. And as a brilliant way […]

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Fantasmo pivots to scooter cameras that keep them off sidewalks

GPS is too inaccurate to tell if a scooter is being driven or parked in off-limits areas. But as scooter startups compete for permits from city governments, they need a way to prove their riders play by the rules. That’s where Fantasmo’s new scooter positioning camera comes in. The augmented reality mapping startup had been building the Camera Positioning Standard to give self-driving cars, robots and AR games a dynamically updated understanding of the real world around them. But now Fantasmo is focusing on the urgent use […]

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Sequoia leads $10M round for home improvement negotiator Setter

You probably don’t know how much it should cost to get your home’s windows washed, yard landscaped or countertops replaced. But Setter does. The startup pairs you with a home improvement concierge familiar with all the vendors, prices and common screwups that plague these jobs. Setter finds the best contractors across handiwork, plumbing, electrical, carpentry and more. It researches options, negotiates a bulk rate and, with its added markup, you pay a competitive price with none of the hassle. One of the most reliable startup investing strategies […]

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Lime will open brick-and-mortar scooter ‘lifestyle stores’

How can Lime differentiate its scooters and bikes from the piles of Birds and Spins filling Los Angeles sidewalks? Apparently with a physical storefront where it can convince customers of the wonders of on-demand mobility. According to a job listing from Lime seeking a “Retail Store Manager,” the startup plans to open a “lifestyle brand store in Santa Monica”. [Update: Following the publication of this article, Lime responded to our inquiry, telling TechCrunch “In the coming year, Lime will be opening brick & mortar storefronts in major […]

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Embracing multimodality, Uber pioneers ride recommendations

For the first time, Uber will make contextual, personalized suggestions about the best way to get from point A to point B. The startup offers more than just cars now, and it’s starting to understand the tradeoffs between price, speed, convenience, and comfort amidst its multi-modal fleet. Most noticeably, you’ll now see JUMP bikes get premier billing right alongside Uber’s other vehicles. Going a short distance and there’s a charged up bike nearby? Uber will suggest you pedal. Might need extra room for luggage on your way […]

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Uber fires up its own traffic estimates to fuel demand beyond cars

If the whole map is red and it’s a short ride, maybe you’d prefer taking an Uber JUMP Bike instead of an UberX. Or at least if you do end up stuck bumper-to-bumper, the warning could make you less likely to get mad mid-ride and take it out on the driver’s rating. This week TechCrunch spotted Uber overlaying blue, yellow, and red traffic condition bars on your route map before you hail. Responding to TechCrunch’s inquiry, Uber confirmed that traffic estimates have been quietly testing for riders on […]

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Airbnb for Work now accounts for 15 percent of bookings

Business travelers have become an increasingly important part of Airbnb’s business, according to a new blog post. The company says that Airbnb for Work, which launched in 2014, has seen bookings triple from 2015 to 2016, and triple again from 2016 to 2017. In fact, Airbnb says that almost 700,000 companies have signed up for and booked with Airbnb for Work. Interestingly, the breakdown of companies working with Airbnb for traveler lodging are pretty diverse — employees from large enterprise companies (5,000+ employees) and employees from startups and […]

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DoorDash CEO Tony Xu to deliver startup lessons at Disrupt SF

On-demand delivery is painfully difficult. The margins are usually razor thin, each market is wildly different, and the business can be largely dependent on retailers’ willingness to jump into the digital age. But DoorDash, which launched in 2013 out of Y Combinator, has been a dominant force in the space. That’s why we’re absolutely thrilled to have DoorDash CEO Tony Xu join us at Disrupt SF in September. In the five years since it’s launched, DoorDash has expanded to hundreds of markets in the U.S. The company, […]

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Instacart taps Postmates to help with deliveries in SF during peak demand

Instacart has tapped Postmates to offer better delivery services during peak hours in a San Francisco pilot. While Instacart will still handle all the shopping for its customers, it will hand off some deliveries to Postmates at times when there is high demand on the Instacart platform. Postmates, obviously, has offered delivery-as-a-service for merchants and brands since its inception, and some of those brands, such as Walmart, offer their own delivery services. But this marks the first time that Postmates has offered delivery-as-a-service to a business that […]

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