17. January 2013–
The on-demand private driver service Uber has announced they are expanding to Germany, starting with a team of "Secret Ubers" in Berlin.
SoundCloud cofounder, Alexander Ljung, was among the first in Berlin to try out the company's services, catching a ride from his office with a few friends. At the moment, Uber is not open to the public, as it is still in testing mode in Berlin.
The San Francisco-based chauffeur service is currently available in selected US and Canadian cities, along with Paris, London, Sydney and Amsterdam. The German launch accelerates the startup's European expansion, with Stockholm also at "Secret Uber" stage and the company currently looking for managers in Rome, Munich, Oslo, Zurich, Milan, Helsinki and Hamburg.
Uber's service can be paid for with an app that automatically charges users' credit cards.
Competition steps up in Germany...
The German market for car and taxi services is heating up. Uber comes as a new competitor for German equivalent BlackLane – who just last week received funding from Carsten Maschmeyer. At the moment, BlackLane is only available in Germany and Vienna, where they recently launched. The two services differ in their pricing; Blacklane has a fixed price for its services while Uber offers a taxi-style charge as you go system.
Uber has also added online taxi ordering to their expertise, launching uberTAXI last week. It's unclear when the taxi service will be available in Germany, which already hosts a number of taxi apps, including MyTaxi, Taxi.de and Click A Taxi.