12. February 2014–
"We believe in the German market", Benedetta Arese Lucini, Uber's Europe General Manager, said. In an interview with VentureVillage's sister magazine, Gründerszene, she revealed that the limousine service will soon be launching in multiple German cities. Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg are up next – at the moment, Uber is only available in Munich and Berlin.
Uber most recently made headlines in Germany when it parted with its three-person Berlin management team last November. In the interim, launch manager Patrick Studener and Benedetta Arese Lucini took over locally – now, Lucini claims Uber's German team is almost complete again. The company is still, however, advertising for a General Manager and a community manager in Berlin, while three jobs remain open in Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Hamburg.
Uber sees itself as something in between a limousine and taxi service – while its cars can be ordered on-demand in the same way as taxis, Uber distinguishes itself with its luxury cars and chauffeurs. In Germany, Uber faces competition from chauffeur service Blacklane, which received a €10m investment from Daimler in December 2013. In addition, car rental company Sixt recently started MyDriver, its own private driver service.
When exactly Uber will be launching in these German cities is still unclear, Lucini told Gründerszene. It depends on how quickly the vacancies are filled: "Uber sees itself as a local brand, it's important to have people on the ground to organise cooperations with other companies", Lucini said. As a side note, she also announced a Valentines Day cooperation with Berlin-based dating app Mbrace. Star-crossed lovers can use Uber to send specially-casted "huggers" to their significant others, though why they can't just hug their lovers themselves is a mystery to us.
Image credit: Flickr user Nick.Fisher