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Uber India business won’t be hit by Travis Kalanick’s exit: Amit Jain

LiveMint logoLiveMint 30-06-2017 Mihir Dalal

Bengaluru: The India business of cab hailing service Uber Technologies Inc. will not be hurt by the departure of the company’s chief executive and co-founder Travis Kalanick, Uber India president Amit Jain said in an interview.

Both the number of daily trips and gross sales at Uber India have increased 2.5 times at the end of June from the year-ago period, Jain said.

Uber investors forced Kalanick to resign as CEO earlier this month after a wide-ranging probe into the firm’s corporate practices and culture, including the professionalism and ethics of its leaders.

Some analysts said that the resignation of Kalanick, who was a big backer of the company’s India business, may cause uncertainty in the short-term at Uber India and boost rival Ola’s prospects.

Jain, however, said Uber will not reduce its budget toward India.

“Business in India is absolutely rock solid. We continue to see exponential week-over-week growth. We continue to grow the number of cars that are there on our platform—business continues to be good. India continues to be a very strategic market for Uber, the investment in the India business is strong—so, nothing changes from that perspective,” Jain said.

Jain, who joined Uber India in June 2015, declined to disclose the number of weekly rides or gross sales. Last year, he had said in an interview with Mint that Uber’s completed trips had risen from 165,000 a week in January 2015 to 5.5 million at the end of August 2016.

Jain emphasised that it was business-as-usual at Uber India Systems Pvt. Ltd and the management was working over-time to pacify employees and ease their concerns about the impact of Kalanick’s resignation on the India business.

Kalanick’s departure is one of the most significant events in the start-up world in the past decade. He is seen as a role model by many Uber employees, other entrepreneurs and workers at other start-ups, though his brash personality and do-anything-for-growth attitude found many detractors as well.

“A big part of what we do is transparent communication. So, it’s been a combination of multiple communications across the organization and in India to convey the message, which I talked about earlier in terms of there being absolutely no difference to the India business and that we continue to be as rock solid as before,” Jain said.

For US-based Uber, India became its most important international market after it sold its China business to local rival Didi Chuxing last August. Uber and Ola (ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd) differ over who controls how much of the market. Ola executives and investors claim that Uber, currently, is less than half of Ola’s size while Uber executives claim that it is slightly bigger than Ola. There is no conclusive way of checking either claim.

Ola, run by Bhavish Aggarwal, has mopped up about $350 million in fresh funding over the past six months led by existing investor SoftBank Group Corp.

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