TC Sessions: Mobility | Uber Takes Flight with Eric Allison (Uber Elevate)


(upbeat music) – All right, so by the end of this panel we will be crowning a
winner of the Scooter Wars so do your best, no pressure
though, no pressure. Yeah, so obviously, big
news actually happened in your world in this last month, Katie, is that another AMBER Alert possibly? That is unfortunate. So Katie, Bird bought Scoot, which was pretty big news
in the micro-mobility space. I know that you said
you’re not really able to talk too much about
what that means for Scoot but does this kinda signal
the beginning of consolidation in the scooter space do you think? – I think there was a lot
of talk and written about, this is the year of consolidation and this is clearly a signal
of one direction this could go. I think it makes a lot of sense for these two companies, in
particular, to come together. Bird has scaled in an incredible way in the past year and a half. Scoot has been around operating in a few strategic cities for
many years and is multimodal and has built really strong relationships with city governments and there’s strategic reasons
for us to come together and we’re really excited to
kind of bring our unique skills and bring micro-mobility to
more cities around the world. Does it signal consolidation
for the whole industry? I think there’s still a lot of room for different operators
in different cities. What we found in our experience at Scoot is every market is super unique. Because we are operating
physical assets on the ground it’s not just about creating a marketplace and matching supply and demand, it’s also about occupying public space and being kind of a productive contributor to a city’s mobility solutions. And I think that there’s
a lot of small operators in Europe, in Latin America, and in the US that are offering something unique and there’s gonna be a space for them. And the question will really
be about how it’s funded and for Bird and Scoot,
there was an opportunity to kind of leverage our resources by bringing the two companies together. – And Nick, I mean, you have
some experience with this. Uber of course bought JUMP, I guess it was early last year? – That’s right. – Do you have any advice for Katie? You know, like being sold to (laughs) being sold to another company
that was once a competitor? – Yeah, I mean, we were
really excited to join Uber because it was at a moment where we recognized that this was actually a dramatically larger
opportunity and problem than really any startup
is equipped to handle. I will say that the experience of taking off on a
micro-mobility rocket ship as you scale something like we did to being huge globally is incredibly fun and an amazing learning experience that also takes an
enormous amount of energy. I think the way this whole
industry needs to scale as we realize that really
this problem should be solved with more rigor than
building cars are solved with or deploying nationwide
train systems are solved with and that’s the kind of
solutions that you can bring when you’re part of a much larger company. – Yeah, so I don’t know about
everyone else in the audience but to me, a lot of these scooters kind of look and feel the same and honestly, partly that’s
probably because, Tony, your company supplies a
lot of these providers with those exact same scooters. How did you end up in that position? Well, congratulations, ’cause you must be making a ton of money, but how did you kind of become
like the scooter provider? – I think we are fortunate in a way that we had a little bit headstart. So having our supply chain based in China have some advantage in terms
of having the capacities and also a lot of the sort of engineering supply chain
knowhow were based in China so we had a little bit headstart. And the other thing is the
micro-mobility kind of movement in a way started with bicycles, right? If you look at the ofo and Mobike. So we had like a couple
of years of headstart in this whole, the
dockless business model, and also kind of the biggest
testing ground in China so we kind of benefit from that. And also we were able to see, almost three or four years ago, that scooter form factor is really sort of the ultimate form
factor for consumers at the time so we were able to ramp up productions, and obviously with our partnership with Xiaomi and some other partners, we were able to be the sort of leader in this scooter business to begin with. So we had a little bit of
learning curve behind us so essentially, the
headstart helped quite a bit. But of course, to maintain that leadership is actually quite challenging as well so we can talk all about that. – Yeah, because I mean, now you see, more companies are actually deciding to build their own scooters in-house. And Shalin, I know that
Skip is actually coming out with a new scooter, I
believe it’s next month. How did you kind of
think about that product? And more importantly, making it different from what’s already out there? – Yeah, that’s a great question. First I wanna acknowledge
what’s been a tremendous, fruitful partnership with Segway-Ninebot, clearly has done amazing
things in the industry and has helped a ton of the
operators bootstrap services that have helped with the last
mile transportation problem in a bunch of cities. We believe that building the best product certainly starts with the scooter. And the learnings we’ve had in operating in Washington, D.C., Portland, for a bit, San Francisco, of course, recently launched in Austin and San Diego, are that we have to put the rider first. And that means when we
think about reliability, longevity, depreciation,
theft and vandalism, a whole bunch of the
things we’ll talk about, especially when it comes to
unit economics, of course, but also for the rider and their interaction with the scooter, we need to rethink the
scooter from the ground up. So we have been working on our custom-built scooter,
custom-designed scooter. We tweeted it probably a month or two ago but we’re excited to announce that we’re gonna be rolling it
out in the next month or two in a test program in San Francisco. We’ll have about 50
scooters on the ground. It’s gonna be an integrated
lock-to mechanism, we’ll have swappable batteries. Standard things that a lot
of the folks are working on, wider base boards, larger wheels, bigger headlights, et cetera, et cetera. But the point is, a lot of
our focus with this iteration of the next scooter, and future ones, is how do we put the
rider front and center?

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