There is only one way to compete with Uber

For car-sharing startups trying to challenge Uber, the best option – and possibly the only one – is to focus on drivers.


Subscribe Friday is our attempt to put news into context. Once a week, we’ll call out a recent headline, provide updates and explain why it’s important.If you’ve lived or visited New York City this summer, you may have seen the inevitable promotional campaign of a ride-hailing company claiming to never go up. That company is Gett, an Israeli outfit that debuted in Tel Aviv in 2011, where it consistently ranks as the top car-sharing app. It’s also big in Europe, where it’s profitable and claims to be the top choice – for example, in London, Gett has worked directly with more than half of the city’s black taxi drivers. challenge with Uber. Backed by a recent $ 300 million investment from Volkswagen, Gett plans to strengthen its position in Europe.

But in New York, Gett’s only US market, the ride-sharing app is still an outsider. It still hasn’t recognized the name or number of passengers of Uber or Lyft, and Gett knows it: when I spoke to CMO Nahshon Davidai, the first thing he told me was “we wanted to get bigger” .


Uber drivers objected to a salary cut in February. (Spencer Platt / Getty Images) Davidai claims Gett is growing “by leaps and bounds”. But he chose not to provide any numbers to back up that claim and conceded, “I want us to have a more, more popular presence as a # 1 option for more consumers. We are not done yet. “

Three years since operating in New York, Gett is reaching the end of the runway. Another car-sharing startup, Hailo, withdrew from New York in just over a year. Sidecar sponsored after two and a half, and soon completely folded. With the skeletons of failed shares scattered across the New York landscape, can a new entrant challenge Uber, with a billion-dollar sponsorship and a grand start? The answer seems to be yes – but perhaps not to the strategy Gett is pursuing.

Gett was in action quietly in New York for about a year when on September 4, 2014, they decided to do something to really stand out from Uber and Lyft: it will pick up passengers between any two points in Manhattan for just $ 10. On a Saturday night, when you can spend up to $ 30 on a yellow taxi or Uber going up the neighborhood from the Lower East Side, $ 10 is undeniably a good deal.

Gett’s iPhone app quickly jumped from the 198th most-downloaded travel app in the US to No. 9, according to the app analytics firm. App Annie. The riders were eager to grab the $ 10 deal anywhere and the drivers were happy to make the rate is usually higher than Uber. On top of that, Gett’s app allows for tipping, unlike Uber, and receives a smaller commission – 10%, compared to at least 20% for Uber.

But $ 10 altogether any where was too good to last, and today, even though Gett ads still tout that flat fee, the program well prints that $ 10 deal only applies for up to 4 miles or 30 minutes. As of September 1, 2016, Gett has fallen to number 74 most downloaded travel apps in the United States – a far cry from its ninth spot peak. developed and attributed its small presence in New York due to its late launch there, as the city was saturated with competition. “I fully expect we will be in the same place where we are in Europe in New York if we talk again in three years,” Davidai told me and added, “we have a product. different enough in New York. ”

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