LONDON, April 9, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Where Did Uber Go Wrong? That's a common refrain amongst business circles as the world seeks to understand how the world's largest ride-hailing company continues to lose money. Mentioned in today's commentary includes: Lyft, Inc. (NASDAQ: LYFT), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Uber Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: UBER), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), JetBlue Airways Corporation (NASDAQ: JBLU).
About a decade ago, Uber was at the center of giving a face to a novel transport model we have come to know as ride-hailing. Two-friends Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp - so the story goes - got the idea of Uber after failing to get a cab home on a chilly winter night. It was a grand idea: Uber and its disruptive technology handed it the 'accolade' of the world's most valuable startup with a market value of more than $70 billion.
But with big success often comes a fair share of challenges and, frequently, a dose of controversy for a start-up at the pinnacle of massive industry disruption. In 2017, Uber's overwhelming blunders, scandals, and PR disasters saw its founder and CEO Travis Kalanick forced to step down as ignominy for the company multiplied.
The company became a poster-child for a toxic work environment and suffered a major backlash for a series of sexist accusations which sparked the #deleteUber campaign. Meanwhile, Uber drivers continued to feel increasingly angry, powerless and disenchanted as drivers' wages took a cut ahead of the IPO while bonuses offered to long-term drivers remained far from adequate. Yet, that may not have even been Uber's biggest stumble.
Uber's biggest mistake may have been that it failed to evolve with the times, failing to act quickly, including at a time when the world was waking up to the dire consequences of climate change. Uber left itself wide open to disruption.
Enter Facedrive (FD.V), the world's first ride-sharing company that plants trees while you drive, and lets you choose exactly what kind of footprint you want to leave behind. A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that the average (U.S.) ride-hailing trip results in 69% more pollution than whatever transportation option it displaced.
That's a huge number, that scientists estimate is actually higher in densely populated areas. In this age of green investing, this is a data-point that green-conscious customers everywhere are finding hard to swallow. But now, they don't have to. Now they can contribute to planting a tree every time they take a ride.
Facedrive ride-hailing offsets CO2 emissions by its rides, and for the very first time in ride-sharing history, gives customers the choice to be even more environmentally-friendly.
Uber transformed transportation when it spent a fortune turning ride-sharing into a mainstream mode of transportation. But the 2.0 version of ride-sharing is where it gets fine-tuned. It fixes things that are wrong and latches onto a mega-trend the giants shouldn't have ignored: ethical investing. This is where drivers get a boost, riders get a choice, and CO2 gets offset.
The biggest disruption in the world right now--outside of the coronavirus--is that major hedge funds are giving in to the pressure and moving money into things that are environmentally and socially responsible. This is an ethical squeeze worth billion. Jeff Bezos, the richest man on the planet, just committed a whopping $10 billion to a Global Earth Fund.
Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock--one of the world's largest hedge funds, told CEOs around the world last month that climate change has become a "defining factor in companies' long-term prospects".
That, he said, would lead to a significant reallocation of capital--and it's going to happen a lot sooner than anyone previously expected. He's far from alone.
"For the first time since WWII we sense a shift in which climate and the environment — not growth — will become the priority of governments and their citizens, as shortages of food, clean water and air become existential questions," Saxo Bank Chief Economist Steen Jakobsen said in his latest quarterly outlook report.
Meanwhile, green stocks are set to eclipse the current technology monopolies, and even the world's top oil traders are going green. Last year alone, 479 green bonds were issued globally--a 25% increase over 2018. And 2020--for all its troubles-- is set to be a "bumper" year for green, according to Linklaters.
Facedrive caught on to this mega-trend years ago when the likes of Uber and Lyft were napping at the wheel.
"We're all about grabbing onto the biggest trends in tech before they're mega-trends. So that takes us back to 2016, when we first came up with the idea. Whenever a major new trend emerges, it's the job of the truly innovative to step back and say 'OK, this is an explosively great idea - so what's wrong with it?' When you figure that out, and you've got the right network and the right people behind you, you can jump in on one of the biggest trends and disrupt a massive market at exactly the right time," Facedrive CEO Sayan Navaratnam told Oilprice.com in a recent interview. And all these visionary investors are dead right.
Everywhere you look, the consequences of climate change are becoming increasingly visible. Rising sea levels, wild-fires, heatwaves, and extreme weather events are already wreaking havoc everywhere and could cost the global economy $1 trillion dollars over the next five years in crumbling infrastructure, reduced crop yields, health problems, and lost labor as per the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP).
A big part of climate change is being wrought by global warming, thanks to rising carbon levels in the atmosphere, with the world set to exceed our 2,620 GT limit in just over a decade, leading to irreversible damage to entire ecosystems.
Yet, despite this very real existential threat, corporations and organizations everywhere are not exactly festooned with the best or most creative ideas as to how to limit or remove harmful emissions from our atmosphere--let alone make money while at it.
Many organizations are making desperate attempts to burnish their green credentials with half-hearted efforts to purchase so-called carbon credits with little or no thought of the end-product. It's a well-meaning effort, but ultimately a PR charade--at best.
Nature itself has provided us with a silver bullet that could help cure our carbon problem in a matter of decades. Planting trees is not only the most effective way to remove excess CO2 from the atmosphere--it's also by the cheapest and most practical.
According to researchers, it would require about $300 billion to plant enough trees to offset our carbon footprint, working out to less than USD$1.50 per tonne of CO2 removed. In contrast, the best carbon capture technologies boast a breakeven point of ~$50/tonne of CO2 removed, or about 33x the cost of planting trees, not to mention that it would take centuries to build enough carbon capture plants to get the job done.
Facedrive (FD.V) gets it. Uber didn't.
Facedrive ride-hailing offsets CO2 emissions through contributions to tree planting, and for the very first time in ride-sharing history, gives customers the choice to be even more environmentally conscientious. That's why Facedrive Inc.'s carbon and ESG model outshines.
This also resonates hugely with riders of any stripe because they won't be paying any premiums for offsetting, nor will drivers lose any of their fare to pay for the green initiative.
But that's just part of the reason why the company's egalitarian green energy model is so attractive.
While Uber and Lyft were busy spending billions of dollars making ride-sharing a thing, Facedrive was busy skating to where the puck was going by laying a very solid green foundation. It's a big reason why these ride-sharing incumbents have never made a dime in profit despite having been in business for more than a decade.
Facedrive's model excels in exquisite simplicity with effectiveness that truly underpins the company's green credentials. It also makes perfect business sense…especially when you consider that green stocks are set to eclipse the current technology monopolies, and even the world's top oil traders are going green.
In part, that's because millennial investors are nearly twice as likely to invest in companies or funds that target specific social or environmental outcomes. That's also why Facedrive's ride count has gone from 200 a day just 4 months ago to over a 1000 rides per day right now--and counting.
They have partnered with Forest Ontario and have planted over 3,500 trees last year in their soft launch phase. Yet, this is just the beginning, with Facedrive laying out plans to expand to over 15 cities over the next 24 months.
Ultimately, this little ride-hailing company is about to play an outsized role in tackling climate change by removing hundreds of thousands of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and making the world a habitable place for the 10 billion citizens who will be around by 2050.
And many organizations including Lyft, Amazon, Apple and JetBlue are starting to pay attention, as well, and are finally starting to take drastic steps towards a carbon neutral future.
Lyft (LYFT) was the first major ride-sharing company to go carbon neutral. "We get up every day thinking about how we can continue to have a positive impact on the communities we serve. As we grow, so does the opportunity to increase this impact" John Zimmer, the cofounder and president of Lyft, said on the subject.
isn't carbon neutral just yet, it is making drastic changes to its day-to-day operations to move in the right direction. It pledges to be fully carbon neutral by 2040, and it is buying up 100,000 electric delivery vehicles to get there.
Apple (AAPL) has always thought outside of the box. And when it brought back Steve Jobs in 1997, the company really took off towards 'greener' pastures. Jobs paved the way to a carbon-neutral future for the company. From the products themselves, to the packages they came in, and even the data centers powering them, Steve Jobs went above and beyond to cut the environmental impact of his company.
, for its part, is aiming to become carbon neutral this year, using sustainable jet fuel derived from oil crops or from wood and waste biomass. "By offsetting all of our domestic flying, we're preparing our business for the lower-carbon economy that aviation – and all sectors – must plan for," Chief Executive Officer Robin Hayes said in a statement.
Of course, it's impossible to mention companies going green without highlighting some of the energy company's behind the movement. NextEra (NEE) is the world's leading producer of wind and solar energy, so it's no surprise that it has received some love from the 'millennial dollar.' In 2018, the company was the number one capital investor in green energy infrastructure, and fifth largest capital investor across all sectors. No other company has been more active in reducing carbon emissions. And they're just getting started.
By. James Burgess
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This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements. Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that the demand for environmentally conscientious ride sharing services companies in particular will grow; that Facedrive can achieve its environmental goals without sacrificing profit; that Facedrive plans to move to over 15 cities over the next 24 months; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plan. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information. Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include changing governmental laws and policies; the company's ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company's expansion activities; the ability of the company to attract a sufficient number of drivers to meet the demands of customer riders; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; the ability of the company to keep operating costs and customer charges competitive with other ride-hailing companies; and the company's ability to continue agreements on affordable terms with existing or new tree planting enterprises in order to retain profits. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.
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