Movements | April 5th, 2021

Clickbait restaurants, Uber Augmented Reality, and Harry Campbell (aka The Rideshare Guy) is back with a guest DJ.

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Hey there, it’s Harry Campbell from The Rideshare Guy, back for my second time to share some stories and thoughts in the mobility world.

After a year of reduced demand, it seems like the ridehail space is finally starting to pick up again in the US. Companies like Uber, Lyft and DoorDash are basically begging drivers to get back on the road and with increasing demand, some drivers are reporting big earnings. Expect a quick bounce back but it will be interesting to see the dynamics that have changed because of the pandemic (no more shared rides, more competition for driver supply, etc).

Lately, I’ve been chatting with leaders in the micromobility and transit spaces on my podcast, launching a conference, and focusing on a lot of consulting/B2B opportunities. You can read more about what I’m up to here and feel free to follow me on Twitter or shoot me an e-mail if you have anything you want to discuss.


Ridehailing

The big news of the week was Waymo’s CEO stepping down after 5 ½ years. Waymo is the only company actually operating self-driving cars commercially (without a safety driver or two) but it seems like reality is finally settling in for this sector - wide scale adoption is going to take some time. | CNBC

Related: Check out my podcast with Argo’s Alex Roy on what it takes to be an AV Test Specialist.

In addition to recent news about Deliveroo preparing to go public, Didi Chuxing is also reportedly prepping a large IPO as early as this summer. Didi has been expanding services in Russia, South Africa, and Latin America and could be battling Uber (also a shareholder) for market share in the future. | Forbes 

Drivers and fleet owners aren’t the only ones struggling with insurance costs. How autonomous vehicles will handle the insurance behemoth. | Investors 

Shared rides on Uber and Lyft have always struggled with low match rates, low to no profitability and low driver satisfaction but what happens when you throw in a little bit of a pandemic? If I had to guess, we won’t see shared rides again for quite some time. | Bloomberg

Back in 2019 Uber patented Augmented Reality walking directions to help riders find drivers. Now it was spotted in the app code: “Tap to enter AR walking experience”. | Steve Moser

Investments and Funding

CloudKitchens aren’t going anywhere. Dubai-based Grubtech announced it’s raised $3.4 million in pre-Series A funding for its software platform that powers ghost kitchens and delivery-only restaurants. | The Spoon

As recreational and medicinal sales of cannabis continue to win legalization battles across the United States, cannabis entrepreneurs and celebrity investors are investing heavily in anticipation of a demand explosion. The Parent Company, which bills itself as “the Llrgest vertically integrated omnichannel cannabis platform in California” and lists Jay-Z as chief visionary officer, has said its looking to consolidate smaller cannabis players through a special purpose acuisition company (SPAC). To that point, Oregon-based e-commerce platform Dutchie, which connects cannabis dispensaries to consumers, raised $200 million in a funding round that values the company at $1.7 billion. | Reuters

Didi is planning to raise as much as $500 million for its self-driving unit ahead of an anticipated initial public offering this year. | Bloomberg

New Products, Features and Data Points

Excellent deep dive on the rise of ‘clickbait’ restaurants, like OMG BBQ LOL, and cloud kitchens. Could this be the wave of the future for restaurants - diversifying their menus based on cloud kitchen requests and their own varied options? How the data collected by ghost kitchen companies could power a restaurant revolution. | Vice

In anticipation of major infrastructure legislation, Amtrak has expanded its rail service map and would include cities previously without service, including Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Nashville. | Gizmodo

Uber continues to focus on its zero-emissions goal, adding all-electric vehicles to its list of ride options in London | Yahoo

DoorDash is pushing against local regulations and delivery caps with new charges, including Regulatory Response Fees and more. | Twitter

Micromobility

Micromobility is transforming urban life, but it’s not exactly a panacea for sustainable and carfree travel. Regulations are patchwork, both globally and locally, but data collection and targeted improvements can help get over this hurdle. | Mass Transit

One major challenge - where to dock all the e-scooters? Paris is trying out a new 150-dock pilot project with Turkish electric scooter docking startup, Duckt. It’s designed to keep urban spaces free of clutter and serves as an EV-charging station plus kiosk. | Clean Technica

Cities and states will need to figure out regulations and safety soon, as the e-scooter market only continues to grow. This chart from Grand View Research shows the US electric scooter market by size and anticipated growth into 2030. | Grand View Research


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