“We were unable to compete against Uber, a company that raised more capital than any other in history and is infamous for its anti-competitive behavior,” he said.
Although it ended up competing with the likes of Postmates, Sidecar started out as a pioneer in the ridesharing space and to this day holds a patent around making transportation routes more efficient. But while it did well in the beginning, Sidecar wasn’t able to pick up substantial traction to compete against not only Uber, but also Lyft.
Over time, it was apparent that the ridesharing space only had room for two well-funded companies — at least in the U.S. That’s not to say that Sidecar didn’t try to compete as it continued to emphasize that out of the three startups, it was the only one that didn’t have surge pricing. Paul’s company first introduced shared ETAs, driver directions, shared rides, and other features that its competitors picked up on.
Eventually, Sidecar decided to pivot towards on-demand deliveries, but found itself facing tough competition in that space too, including from not only Postmates, but Google, Amazon, and eventually Uber.
“The legacy of Sidecar is that we out-innovated Uber, but still failed to win the market,” Paul admitted.
Ultimately, Paul’s team sold the company’s technology and assets to General Motors for an undisclosed price. In doing so, Sidecar sought to find a place where its “spirit of innovation” could continue while also helping employees find new jobs.
This isn’t the first time that Uber has muscled a competitor out of the market. In 2014, the company’s investment strength caused Hailo to ditch its U.S. expansion plans. At the time, Hailo chairman Ron Zeghibe said its efforts to raise funding were hampered by a clause in Uber’s investment terms: “You can invest in us but only if you don’t invest in our rivals.”
And let’s not forget that there’s no love lost between Uber and Lyft. The latter is apparently fortifying its defenses by establishing an alliance with GrabTaxi, Ola, and Didi Kuaidi. Now, with GM’s $500 million investment, Lyft may hold off any pressure that Uber brings to bear.
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