Uber hopes for a 'Bounce' in two-wheelers

Cab-hailing giant Uber has begun talks with bike rental startup Bounce to list its two-wheelers on the Uber India app, two people aware of the discuss
Photo Courtesy: Bounce Bikes
Photo Courtesy: Bounce Bikes

Pool, Go or Premier. Or if you prefer, ride away on a two-wheeler of your choice.

Cab-hailing giant Uber has begun talks with bike rental startup Bounce to list its two-wheelers on the Uber India app, two people aware of the discussions said. Bengaluru-based Bounce allows commuters to pick and drop its scooters or motorcycles anywhere within city limits.

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Uber is looking beyond four-wheelers in India, and is developing a plan to add more mobility options on its app, one of the two people cited above said on condition of anonymity.

“If Uber’s talks with Bounce materialize, the cab-hailing firm will start with a pilot service in Bengaluru which will not entail any financial agreements," he added.

In May, Uber announced a pilot with electric scooter sharing platform Yulu in Bengaluru.

However, the pilot did not scale up as expected, said the second person, requesting anonymity.

Yulu CEO Amit Gupta said: “Uber’s partnership with Yulu is in a pilot phase and its users in Bengaluru have access to free Yulu rides through this partnership. There is a possibility of a deeper strategic relationship in the future."

On the partnership with Yulu, an Uber spokesperson said: “Uber had partnered with Yulu for a pilot in Bangalore for a period of six months. We are currently collating market feedback and are committed to make urban commuting efficient and eco-friendly."

Both Uber and Bounce declined to comment on Mint’s queries regarding their talks.

In India, Uber has been stepping up its business by adding support for more public transport and mobility options.

In October, the company partnered with Delhi Metro Rail Corp. to introduce Uber Transit, which helps users discover the fastest and cheapest routes in real time across metro trains, buses and walking directions.

Delhi was the first city in Asia, and ninth globally, where the US-based ride hailing firm launched Uber Transit. Earlier, Uber had launched it in Boston in the US and Nice in France, among others.

Globally, Uber has shied away from owning assets on the ground. In the US, it currently lists Jump and Lime electric bikes in cities such as Atlanta, San Diego and California.

In April 2018, Uber acquired Jump for a reported $100 million, after piloting the service in San Francisco in January 2018. Uber will follow a similar strategy in India as well, said the two people cited above.

In India, Uber’s rival Ola already has a financial agreement with scooter rental platform Vogo, which last raised $100 million from Ola for financing purchase of two-wheelers.

Mint reported in October that Bounce hosts around 100,000 rides a day in Bengaluru alone. It is also in the final talks to raise $100 million from existing investors such as Accel Growth and B Capital, according to media reports.

According to Rajarshi Sahai, who earlier led bike-sharing start-up Ofo India’s public policy and communication strategy, Uber already has city-level mobility data that could help Bounce with finding more potential riders. Uber’s Pool users are largely going to be the target market for Bounce, he added.

“It is important to see the mobility to market in form of alliances…because mobility products require flexibility in form factors, and one single design may not fit public transport requirement of a city," Sahai said in an interview.

Sahai is the chief business officer of Adaptive City Mobility, a Germany-based startup that is currently building electric vehicles for public transport.

First Published Date: 22 Nov 2019, 10:41 AM IST

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