- Uber, now a decade old, could be worth as much as $120 billion when it goes public this year.
- The company has grown significantly since the idea was first pitched by founder Garrett Camp.
- Business Insider is publishing the original pitch deck for UberCab to show how much the company has changed in the years since.
Uber is racing towards a massive initial public offering this year.
Those plans — and a reported confidential filing with the top US stock-market regulator — have spurred wild speculation on Wall Street, with some analysts betting the company could be worth as much as $120 billion.
But Uber, now nearly 10 years old, wasn’t always a network of more than 2 million drivers providing rides at the tap of a button in 63 countries around the world. Back in August 2008, the dream of a “next generation car service” was merely a slideshow presentation on founder Garrett Camp’s computer.
Business Insider has covered the original pitch deck before, when Camp first published it on Medium in 2017, but we felt it deserved a fresh look in light of a year marked by expansion into new products like grocery delivery, the rise of Uber Eats as one of the company’s fastest-growing businesses, and a troubled year for the Advanced Technologies Group, where Uber is developing its fleet of self-driving taxis.
Here’s how the founders envisioned Uber 10 years ago:
10 years ago, hailing a cab was a very different affair.
While Camp highlighted “dead-time” with cabs, a 2018 report by Schaller Consulting found that for-hire vehicles drive an average of 2.1 miles without passengers between fares.
Also, most New York cabs are now Toyota Camrys, which the city estimates to have an environmental rating of 25 miles per gallon.
Uber has decimated the value of taxi medallions.
After the expansion of Uber in New York, the value of taxi medallions — limited amounts of which are sold at auction by the city — has plummeted by nearly 75%. And, of course, street-hailing is vital for those without smartphones or a credit/debit card.
Camp said Uber would be the “NetJets of car services.”
This, in a nutshell, was — and still is — Uber’s value proposition. NetJets, a company that allows you to buy fractional ownership in a private jet — has been owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway since 1998.
Uber originally wanted to screen its customers.
Today, anyone with a credit or debit card and a smartphone can instantly be connected with a driver. GPS and photos make finding your driver much easier — something that hasn’t changed today.
It’s not just luxury Mercedes sedans these days, either.
According to the original pitch, Uber cars would be luxury Mercedes sedans. Today the most popular cars are Toyota Priuses, Honda Civics, and Toyota Camrys.
A car could be summoned using GPS or texting.
GPS is obviously still a main tenet of the app. SMS summoning, on the other hand, seems to have gone by the wayside.
Saving destinations with specific labels would have been much more important for text-hailing.
Still, saving addresses into the app for easy selection is a big time-saver.
The fleet looks very different today than originally planned.
Today, a majority of the Uber fleet consists of Toyota Priuses and Camrys, Honda Accords, and Ford Fusions, as well as the luxury models it mentioned in 2008.
Camp had a plan for surge pricing.
Though traditional surge pricing is now largely gone, Uber had long foreseen its ability to use trip data to forecast demand and incentivize drivers in areas of increased trip requests.
Knowing where riders and drivers are — and what areas will be popular in the future— is still one of Uber’s most valuable products.
It all comes down to data.
Uber could be worth up to $120 billion on public markets — a far cry from the $4.2 billion market estimate it had 10 years ago.
Airport trips still make up a large chunk of Uber rides
In many cases, Uber rides have become so popular at airports that some cities have altered their pick-up and drop-off lanes to better facilitate ride-hailing. There are still cab lines, though.