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Uber’s Transportation Aggregation Play In Dhaka

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wants to build ‘the amazon of transportation’. Uber’s moves into broader transportation play and integrating last mile transportation services and public transit facilities in many cities prove that Uber genuinely wants to be ultimate transportation aggregator. This same strategy has been in the play in Bangladesh. The company has been working hard to build a portfolio of transportation services. Today, it offers over seven different types of transportation services via its app. If you open the Uber app, you will get seven different options to choose and are likely to find transportation option for your every need starting from Ubermoto to Uber Hire. This has significan strategic implications for Uber’s competitors in Dhaka.

From Uber’s Ambitions For Bangladesh With Quazi Zulquarnain, Country Lead, Uber Bangladesh:

“One of the main focuses for us in Bangladesh right from the beginning has been ensuring a strong product portfolio. Right now, with Uber if you open up the app, there are six things you can choose from – you can take Ubermoto if you want to get somewhere fast and cheap, you can take an Uber X ride, if you want a better ride experience you take Uber Premium, then you have other things such as you have Uber XL, which is a product that allows you to request a Toyota Hayes or Toyota Noah, if you have a big family get together or a going somewhere you need that.

We have a product called Uber Hire which allows you to keep the car for the extended length of time if you want to do three to four things at once and don’t want to call a car every time. We also have a product called Uber Intercity, which is a very exciting product for us which allows you to take a ride from Dhaka to adjunct areas to all resorts in the north and these factories in the south.

The most important job for us is to find a solution for every market need. For us, the ambition is to become everything transportation. When people think about transportation, they think Uber. As our Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi said we want to be the Amazon of transportation. So that broader perspective is applicable for us as well.

We are still small if you compare us to transportation in general. I feel like the growth potential is massive if you look at the things that we could potentially do and the things that exist in other markets.

We have Uber Pool in many markets and we have other existing products in many markets that we could bring to Dhaka. We have done integration with public transportation systems in many markets. We have a product called Uber Pass in another market. We have these really exciting projects going on in other markets that you could look at and say is this applicable here. Maybe, maybe not but you try and constantly evaluate things and sometimes you reach the right answer and then go for it.”

Everyone wants a bundle

Ever single player in the transportation space is Dhaka is behind building some sort of bundle. Shohoz wants to become a super app. It has been moving into all these services. Pathao has been into “one app for all your needs’ for as long as I can remember. And here Uber patiently building a transportation bundle. These are important strategic moves with long term consequences.

Internet companies try to build bundles mostly for two reasons: 1) growth 2) competitive moats. Being mobile first players, ride-hailing companies are uniquely positioned to build vertical integration of multiple services. Successful integration of multiple services allow you to attract more customers and cross-sell multiple services to same customer opening up new doors of growth. At the same, more services in one place means customers are more likely to stick with your platform than otherwise. The challenge however would be building the right bundle. Because like everything else all bundles are created equal but some bundles are more equal than others.

Mohammad Ruhul Kader is a Dhaka-based entrepreneur and writer. He founded Future Startup, a digital publication covering the startup and technology scene in Dhaka with an ambition to transform Bangladesh through entrepreneurship and innovation. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, and society. He is the author of Rethinking Failure. His writings have been published in almost all major national dailies in Bangladesh including DT, FE, etc. Prior to FS, he worked for a local conglomerate where he helped start a social enterprise. Ruhul is a 2022 winner of Emergent Ventures, a fellowship and grant program from the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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