Ride on Uber and get to pitch start-up ideas to VCs

By Subhayan Chakraborty , Business Standard, New Delhi | In Marketing | October 07, 2016
'Uberpitch', the initiative is set to be launched worldwide by November, across 37 cities in 21 countries.

Cab aggregator Uber on Thursday launched an initiative that allows start-ups to pitch their ideas to Venture Captal (VC) and investors while sharing an Uber ride.

Named 'Uberpitch', the initiative is set to be launched worldwide by November, across 37 cities in 21 countries.

The plan is a part of the company's start-up mentoring program. Start-ups can register on the company's website and have a direct line to investors at a time venture capital investments have gone down in the country. Sources in the company said prominent Indian VCs have signed up for the the plan.

Private equity investments, including venture capital investments declined 50 per cent during the September 2016 quarter to $3.2 billion across 125 deals compared to $6.5 billion across 224 transactions in the year-ago quarter. These figures, released by Venture Intelligence, show that as compared to the April-June 2016 quarter, there has been a drop about five per cent.

The government wants to play the role of a facilitator and not a regulator when it comes to start-up enterprises, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said launching the initiative at an event by industry body Ficci.

The ministers statement assume significance after a section of the start-up industry have complained of undue government interference in the form of start-ups being selected for government funding.

The government has committed a Rs 10,000 crore corpus for funding start-ups apart from tax breaks and easier patent approval.

Last month, Uber announced plans of teaming up with Maruti Suzuki to push up the number of drivers on its platform to over one million. According to an agreement between the companies, carmaker Maruti Suzuki will assess and train 30,000 commercial drivers for Uber, over the next three years.

The initiative, named UberSHAAN is set to be rolled out first in Hyderabad, Chennai and Delhi-National Capital Region. After a four-month pilot, the facility will be extended to Mumbai, Bengaluru, Ahmedabad and Pune. Driver training and on-boarding programmes will be organised, which are required to join the Uber platform. Maruti has 370 driving schools and six institutes of driving and traffic research.

On completion of training and receipt of a commercial licence, the company will also offer vehicle financing and leasing solutions. Uber has identified India as the next battleground, after it sold its operations to Didi Chuxing in China.

While the popular e-hailing app currently has over 400,000 driver partners, around half of that are active every month. The company aims to have over a million active driver partners on its platform, Uber India President Amit Jain had said.