Uber is launching a courier service in NYC called UberRUSH, which will allow users to request things for the astronomical price of $15-$30. This announcement has a lot of people surprised by the early timing of a new product expansion. I am certainly one of those people and can’t help but wonder if we are in the early stages of seeing the rise of the next big tech behemoth.
Frankly, I respect the move to expand the business and fight a multi-front war on a variety of industries. In tech, where so many others say that you need to have a strong focus on your core product before expansion to other verticals, I love the recognition of a repeatable business model and the courage to accelerate the process of transforming from a single use-case to a dominant on-demand startup titan.
With the infrastructure, data, and user base that Uber has, they have always been a prime candidate for expansion. It is now up to them to decide how it is they want to handle this expansion to other, vastly different, industries. As Adam Besvinick’s tweet shows, there are a variety of companies in this space that either should be incredibly afraid of Uber’s new move, or wildly excited by an IPO-bound player sniffing around for deals.
Time will tell whether or not Uber fancies itself efficient and confident enough to move in to other natural markets that their on-demand platform can service or if they are at a point where their “core competency” and moat is execution and logistics. I personally believe that if they want to be a true conglomerate for delivery/on demand, they will need a combination of both, as some markets have much lower brand loyalty and barriers to entry, while others are still searching for a major player to take hold.
Regardless of how this plays out, or how premature all of this talk is, Uber has the potential to both create a wasteland of newly funded “we’re the Uber for..” startups, as well as a new crop of millionaire entrepreneurs who are a biproduct of the latest startup service wave that Uber led and subsequently dominated.