Travis Kalanick, the co-founder and chief executive officer of taxi-hailing service Uber Inc., the most valuable start-up, will be in Mumbai next week to address students of the Indian Institute of Technology.
On his first trip to India he will take part in the government’s Startup India event scheduled for January 16. He will be sharing the stage with more than 40 CEOs and start-up founders, including SoftBank’s Masayoshi Son, at IIT-B, one of the country’s premier centres for start-up incubation.
Uber is also partnering with ‘Invest India’, an initiative under the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, and has already launched ‘UberExchnage’, a start-up mentorship programme.
Kalanick will speak to entrepreneur hopefuls on how to build a business, drawing parallels from his own entrepreneurial journey, and “what it takes to build the world’s fastest-growing start-up”.
Uber didn’t have a good start at the country after one of its drivers was arrested for raping a woman passenger in December 2014. The company is also under regulatory glare for alleged predatory pricing and business practices in many other countries.
Following these developments, the company has been investing heavily in safety measures in all markets, including here, Uber India president Amit Jain had said earlier. Uber India has a driver base of over 1.5 lakh and is growing at about 40% every month. The company is up against Ola, the country’s top taxi-aggregator.
The Bhavish Aggarwal-led Ola has raised $1.3 billion of funds from major investors with a valuation of around $5 billion. Globally, Uber’s rival Lyft announced last week that General Motors Co. (GM) had partnered it to launch ‘self-driving’ cars. The American auto giant had invested $500 million in San Francisco-headquartered Lyft as part of a $1 billion round funding.
The five-year-old company, which is valued at over USD 70 billion, had announced last year it would invest USD 1 billion to build its India business.