Travis Kalanick on This Week in Startups

Uber just arrived on the streets of Seattle. But could the private driving service soon take to the air?

That’s the dream of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick who appeared on an episode of This Week in Startups, noting that the company could one day expand into private helicopter and jet service.

He lays out an example of how this could work for the iPhone or Android-wielding customers of Uber.

“So let’s say you’re in Midtown in New York, and you’re like ‘Oh my god, I need to get to JFK ASAP.’ A town car picks you up, takes you to the nearest helipad, and boom, you pop on over to JFK.”

That concept certainly could resonate in the Seattle area, especially as the state rolls out tolls for the 520 floating bridge. I could imagine tech executives stranded in Redmond or Kirkland requesting an Uber helicopter to transport them across the lake to Seattle.

Even better for the water-loving geeks of the Northwest, why doesn’t Uber take on float planes?

Kalanick, who told GeekWire earlier this month that he’s been especially pleased with the acceptance of Uber in Seattle, also appears to have the desire to emulate Kozmo.com by offering food delivery. He notes that the company has “liquidity” in vehicles, which could be put to use in interesting ways like food delivery.

“I am not saying we’d do it, I am saying this is an interesting thing to think about as we are going and taking care of the transportation piece,” he says.

Here’s the clip from This Week in Startups.

Previously on GeekWire: Confessions of an Uber driver: An inside look at Seattle’s new private driver service

Comments

  • http://twitter.com/Michael_Paulson Michael Paulson

    I like the concept and hope one day to be able to take advantage of the helicopter service.

    That said, “emulating Kozmo.com” is a bold and dubious move.

  • Kevin Tate

    I am still wondering why I would pay $50.00 for a trip from downtown to the airport when the private car service I use charges $35.00…and please don’t quote me the instant arrival idea.  Most people using this type of service plan in advance.  Uber will be out of gas in 18 months.  

    • Guest

      Does your car service tell you where your driver is using iPhone?

      Does your car service hold your credit card, eliminating awkward payments while at the airport?

      • Kevin Tate

        My driver just shows up at the requested time, not worth $7.50 for an iPhone app and apparently you don’t take private cars that often.  Payment is quick and effortless, again not worth an additional $7.50 ($15.00 in unnecessary expenses).  Wave goodbye as Uber drives away in 18 months.  

      • Kevin Tate

        My driver just shows up at the requested time, not worth $7.50 for an iPhone app and apparently you don’t take private cars that often.  Payment is quick and effortless, again not worth an additional $7.50 ($15.00 in unnecessary expenses).  Wave goodbye as Uber drives away in 18 months.  

        • Guest

          “Effortless,” Kevin? Uber pays the driver for me. No fumbling with credit card receipts while some TSA prick bangs on the door shouting “no parking here.”

          My rules of tech are simple, Kevin: I don’t speak on the phone and I don’t hand my credit card to the working class. Uber satisfies them both. Until a competitor comes around that makes workflows even more streamlined — I’m particularly intrigued by a stealth startup called MonGarçon — I’m sticking with Uber.

          • Kevin Tate

            First, TSA doesn’t monitor the parking zone.  That is Seattle Port Authority police “guest”.  Second, if you think Uber is a tech play that shows your ignorance.  It is a service play, with tech as a feature.  Your arrogance is quite amusing, when Uber is dead on the side of the road you will be the one hitch hiking for a new position.  

          • Guest 3

            Uber works period! Seattle will end up being one of the most successful launches. A little more BD is in order. But try it on Friday night at 10:30pm you’ll get it. Your $35.00 private driver eh…probably drives a purple towncar…you get what you pay for.

          • Kevin Tate

            If Seattle will be one of your most successful launches, then you are doomed for sure.  With the relatively small entertainment district and smaller Metropolitan population the service will quickly fade.  

            You are either drinking way too much of the Uber kool-aid or you are Michael Arrington trying to pump up his share of the company.  Save this link, in 18 months it will be all you will have to show your allegiance to the company beside some worthless stock options.   

          • Guest

            Kevin, I do not understand nor endorse your negativity. Technology provides convenience which improves service.

            I’d now like to give you one last example to convince you of Uber’s coming success.

            Consider Avis Rent-a-Car. It and other rental car companies will let you borrow a car for a day, drive it around all you want, and take it back. You pay for insurance. You pay for gas. If anything else goes wrong, you pay for it. Also, the pickup locations are in obscure neighborhoods.

            Now, what if there were a rental car system that let me book using iPhone in shorter increments while providing for gas, maintenance, and insurance under one rate? Sounds pretty convenient, right?

            Now what would I tell you if this iPhone rental car system actually cost _more_ than Avis? It would fail immediately due to a lower-cost competitor, according to The Kevin Tate Way.

            Kevin, Zipcar is thriving. Now a public company, millions of drivers enjoy rental cars at iPhone levels of convenience — and they pay handsomely for the privilege. Zipcar charges $80 for a daily rental that costs $30 at Avis, and yet on my iPhone the Zipcar icon is literally wearing away from overuse? Why?

            Simple, Kevin.

            Technology provides convenience which improves service.

            Thank you for your time, Kevin. I hope that you have gained from my sacrifice.

          • Guest

            Kevin, I do not understand nor endorse your negativity. Technology provides convenience which improves service.

            I’d now like to give you one last example to convince you of Uber’s coming success.

            Consider Avis Rent-a-Car. It and other rental car companies will let you borrow a car for a day, drive it around all you want, and take it back. You pay for insurance. You pay for gas. If anything else goes wrong, you pay for it. Also, the pickup locations are in obscure neighborhoods.

            Now, what if there were a rental car system that let me book using iPhone in shorter increments while providing for gas, maintenance, and insurance under one rate? Sounds pretty convenient, right?

            Now what would I tell you if this iPhone rental car system actually cost _more_ than Avis? It would fail immediately due to a lower-cost competitor, according to The Kevin Tate Way.

            Kevin, Zipcar is thriving. Now a public company, millions of drivers enjoy rental cars at iPhone levels of convenience — and they pay handsomely for the privilege. Zipcar charges $80 for a daily rental that costs $30 at Avis, and yet on my iPhone the Zipcar icon is literally wearing away from overuse? Why?

            Simple, Kevin.

            Technology provides convenience which improves service.

            Thank you for your time, Kevin. I hope that you have gained from my sacrifice.

          • Kevin Tate

            Guest, there is a big difference in negativity and reality.  You will soon learn this.  Your analogies are comparing apples to oranges.  Rental agencies do not rent by the hour, and if you do your research (clearly you haven’t) 98% of zip car rentals are by the hour.  Also see, http://www.zipcar.com/seattle/rates/savings-compare-rental

            Quoting completely different business models to justify a losing one is comical at best.  What has been gained is your lack of business acumen through your posts.  It would appear Uber is a good fit for you.  Good day and GOOD LUCK.

          • Guest

            Let’s make a bet, Kevin. In 18 months when Uber continues to exist, I will have won and you will cease posting. If Uber fails during that time, I will have lost.

          • Kevin Tate

            If Seattle will be one of your most successful launches, then you are doomed for sure.  With the relatively small entertainment district and smaller Metropolitan population the service will quickly fade.  

            You are either drinking way too much of the Uber kool-aid or you are Michael Arrington trying to pump up his share of the company.  Save this link, in 18 months it will be all you will have to show your allegiance to the company beside some worthless stock options.   

      • Kevin Tate

        My driver just shows up at the requested time, not worth $7.50 for an iPhone app and apparently you don’t take private cars that often.  Payment is quick and effortless, again not worth an additional $7.50 ($15.00 in unnecessary expenses).  Wave goodbye as Uber drives away in 18 months.  

      • Guest 2

        I don’t care WHERE my driver is, provided he or she’s on time.  If they aren’t, I hit speed dial and find out where they are and then my request is expedited.

        Awkward payment?  After 15 years of paying for cabs and towncars who process credit cards, I can’t recollect this being anything more than a no-brainer.  Plus, I can determine my tip based on the driver’s actual service.  Some deserve more, some less.  I like this process.

        Reading all international financial reports today, both Europe and the U.S. are on the brink of a new recession.  Uber may have clients immune from this, but, I’d guess that many Wanna-be-Ubers will think twice about paying for the “experience,” when the underlying value remains the same — someone who gets me from here to there.

        I look forward to an app that achieves, “I took a taxi and saved $15 which I’m donating to charity “x”” — Wouldn’t that be remarkable?  Even if it never got written up in Techcrunch.

        • Guest

          It’s OK if you don’t want to use Uber. Heck, you don’t even have to ride in a car if you feel that it is too luxurious and technologically advanced to do so. Those of us who know Uber love Uber.

          Observe that even though we are “on the brink of a new recession,” whatever that means, we are all using smartphones. Now, we don’t all have to have smartphones — coin-operated wireline phones would work just as well to engage men with our voices — but more and more of us are buying them. Could it be that technology that makes our lives easier is worth the sacrifice of a few extra coins?

          It could. It is. It forever henceforth will be.

          • Guest 2

            As I said, I’d like a smartphone app that achieves “smart.”  Let me donate the “luxury value” I would have paid to Uber to make the world a slightly better place when I take a taxi, rather than coining over for a comfortable place for my butt for a :15 minute ride.

            If you need Uber in your life.  Enjoy it.  I tend to think of Uber users as I think of oil executives.  A bit too self grandiose and self centered for my taste.  I’ll be the guy in a cab thank you very much.

      • Guest

        Yes and Yes. My private car service (shiny black towncar) lets me book via text or web.  They show up with my flight info loaded to tell me if it is late, they store my credit car, charge me, include the tip and send me an email receipt to the destination of choice (I have it emailed directly to accounting at my company.  North Kirkland to Seatac is $45 all in

  • Guest

    Um…silly question here:  Why wouldn’t I just call up Seattle Town car( or equivalent) and get a car that comes with a firm quote (regardless of time and distance) The pricing model that they have outlined here is far worse than jumping into a yellow cab.  I’d lift the bandage on this one; it smells like cheese

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