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Liquidity network effect

Uber filed its S-1 last week in anticipation of going public in May. The WSJ reported on it, here. These are always interesting documents because you get access to previously private information. Here we can see that Uber’s ride-hailing market share in the US is down to 67% (as of February 2019) from 78% two years earlier. Revenue from this business line — which is the company’s biggest — also seems to have levelled off (chart from the WSJ):

The ride-hailing business today has become a commodity. A lot of people, myself included, simply check to see which service is the cheapest (usually it’s Uber vs. Lyft). So this space feels to me like a giant race to build the biggest network and get to something new, whether that be autonomous vehicles or delivery drones. Uber calls this creating a “liquidity network effect.” Here’s an excerpt from the S-1:

We have a massive, efficient, and intelligent network consisting of tens of millions of Drivers, consumers, restaurants, shippers, carriers, and dockless e-bikes and e-scooters, as well as underlying data, technology, and shared infrastructure. Our network becomes smarter with every trip. In over 700 cities around the world, our network powers movement at the touch of a button for millions, and we hope eventually billions, of people. We have massive network scale and liquidity, with 1.5 billion Trips and an average wait time of five minutes for a rider to be picked up by a Driver in the quarter ended December 31, 2018. Every node we add to our network increases liquidity, and we intend to continue to add more Drivers, consumers, restaurants, shippers, carriers, and dockless e-bikes and e-scooters. We also hope to add autonomous vehicles, delivery drones, and vertical takeoff and landing vehicles to our network, along with other future innovations. Our strategy is to create the largest network in each market so that we can have the greatest liquidity network effect, which we believe leads to a margin advantage.

If you’d like to download a full copy of their filing, click here.

1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: Who is driving less | BRANDON DONNELLY

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