Rideshare companies Lyft and Uber are suffering from a famine of drivers and a feast of food delivery rivals.
Uber announced a $250m “stimulus” payment to attract and retain drivers last month and should update investors on how that went when it reports earnings after the market closes today. Lyft reported on Tuesday that rider demand had outpaced available drivers since late February. But it predicted the latter would ditch food delivery apps and come back to ride-sharing, claiming they missed the “camaraderie and meaningful interactions” that came with transporting people rather than meals.
Tim Bradshaw reports the chiefs of the world’s largest food delivery groups, Just Eat Takeaway.com and Delivery Hero, are warning of cut-throat competition caused by a new generation of well-funded instant grocery delivery apps offering heavy discounts.
Uber and Deliveroo are eyeing potential alliances with the new apps, with Uber announcing a partnership with Gopuff in the US on Tuesday, where Uber Eats users see nearly every Gopuff “everyday essentials” category on their app.
VC firms have been piling into apps that promise to deliver groceries in as little as 10 minutes, thanks to a network of “dark stores” across urban centres in London, Berlin and beyond. “It’s received a ton of venture capital dollars in an incredible amount of time,” said Will Shu, Deliveroo’s chief executive, adding that the apps’ growth was “pretty staggering”.
Uber’s food delivery chief, Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, compared the funding frenzy around 10-minute grocery apps to the earlier spending spree around electric bike and scooter rental services such as Bird, Lime, Voi and Tier. “It feels a lot like the micro mobility craziness we had a year or two ago when there was funding everywhere and there were new players literally every week,” he said.
1. Trump Facebook ban remainsDonald Trump will remain blocked from Facebook after a ruling from the company’s independent oversight board, but the social network must review within the next six months whether this should become permanent. The former president is permanently unable to tweet his displeasure but responded in a statement: “Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth.”
2. WhatsApp payments back in BrazilThe Facebook-owned messaging app has relaunched a feature in Brazil allowing users to send each other money, after an initial attempt was blocked by regulators, and is now pushing to launch business payments in the market as well.
3. GM and China tackle chip requirementsGeneral Motors has said its most profitable models will get its limited supplies of semiconductors amid the global chip shortage. This week’s #techAsia newsletter reports China is implementing a largely secret strategy for chip self-reliance.
4. Crypto capersThe English Premier League is exploring the fast-growing market for digital collectibles that use non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Alphaville notes “joke” cryptocurrency dogecoin has doubled in the past week. ETF Hub says the early winner in the cryptocurrency ETF service provider contest is BNY Mellon.
5. Peloton recalls treadmillsThe fitness technology group Peloton has recalled its treadmills after reports of injuries and one death involving the machines, sending shares in the company to a seven-month low.
From Lang Lang to Arthur Rubinstein, Steinway’s Spirio R technology reproduces their performances on its self-playing grand piano, starting from £127,000.
As Jonathan Margolis explains, streamed video of the original performance can also be played on a TV nearby. Spirio R picks up the subtleties of every key press — the system can detect 1,024 “velocity steps” — so the auto-Lang Lang that plays in your home is to all intents and purposes him. The system is more sophisticated than a 2015 version. For instance, you can record your own work and edit it on the dedicated iPad that comes with a Spirio R piano, before posting the polished piece on social media.