On-demand car service Uber is catching on in cities across America.
In fact, according to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, the company is currently valued at $18 billion and quadrupling every year. So naturally, Uber is always on the lookout for new growth opportunities. Now the on-demand ride app has its sights set on running the everyday, mundane errands we all dread.
In Washington, D.C., Uber has launched a service called Uber Corner Store that offers delivery of pharmaceuticals and other pharmacy items. You can order from a list of items on the app, a driver calls you and takes your order and, once you get delivery, the stuff is charged to your Uber account. Sweet, right?
But aren’t lots of emergency items we need from the pharmacy… ahem… personal? I’m trying to imagine the conversation in hushed tones from the cubicle next door: “Um, yes, I need a big box of Tampax. Excuse me? Yes, super absorbent. And Midol. The big bottle. And a package of Hanes Her Way underwear, size 7. And some Skittles. Thanks.”
A lifesaving assist to be sure, but can you imagine all the crazy stuff these Uber drivers are going to hear on the job?
In Manhattan, where everything cool goes down, Uber launched a courier service. In fact, Uber is so serious about expanding beyond its basic driving service that it has experimented with delivering everything from ice cream to Christmas trees. They call them UberTrees, which is pretty catchy.
In Los Angeles, Uber is testing a new lunch delivery service called UberFRESH. It’s only available in Santa Monica and offers a prix fixe menu for $12 per lunch.
Kalanick also told CNN that Uber wants to expand into emerging markets, using rickshaws instead of the ubiquitous black sedans. The service is already available in 200 cities from Jakarta, Indonesia, to Lima, Peru.
But, as has been widely reported, while these new cool services might make smart, simple business sense, Uber continues to run into regulatory problems, slowing the company’s expansion. To tackle the governmental obstacles head-on, Uber has hired just about the highest-powered government insider around, David Plouffe, President Obama’s former campaign manager.
“There’s a lot of regulations that go way back that didn’t contemplate what the future was going to look like,” Kalanick told CNN. “Those laws didn’t imagine a smartphone era where you’d be able to get out an app and get a car in two minutes.”
If you’re not familiar with Uber, then watch this video of a firsthand experience with the car service from a lady who is def obsessed with the convenience.