QCOSTARICA – Costa Rica’s taxi drivers fight against the U.S. ride sharing company Uber may be lost with the company’s infusion of some US$200 million dollars, to make some local friends, to succeed in unfamiliar contries.
Announced Friday, LetterOne, an international investment firm established by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, made a strategic US$200 million investment in Uber.
The investment is meant to help Uber wade even further into emerging markets.
“Our goal is simple: reliable and affordable transportation everywhere, for everyone, at the push of a button,” Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in the announcement.
In other words, if Uber truly wants to dominate globally, it must adapt to local climates and their unique quirks—something a local partner can help with tremendously, especially in emerging markets.
And yes, $200 million may not sound like much for a company reportedly valued at upwards of $60 billion. But in Uber’s greater quest for world domination, a strategic partner may have more value than the specific monetary value of the investment itself.
A blind bet on Uber. TheVerge.com reports that Morgan Stanley and Bank of America are encouraging private wealth clients with net worths of US$10 million to invest in a fund call the New Rider LP, which is a fancy way for people with money to buy stock in companies that haven’t gone public yet. The strange thing, though, is that investors aren’t allowed to view any of Uber’s financial information, which in essence means they are making blind bets on Uber.
On February 2, Costa Rica taxi drivers staged a protest, demanding the Government block the Uber application, in effect stopping the use of the UberX.
Although at that time the Goverment rejected the demand by taxi drivers, this part Thursday (February 11), it backed down, beginning to dialogue with several taxi driver unions.
The Chief of Staff (Ministro de la Presidencia), Sergio Alfaro, noted after the meeting that although the government does not have the administrative tools to block Appss (Internet applications), it will be looking into other tools to address the situation of Uber’s illegality.