New Delhi: Competition and the drive to serve customers better gives sleepless nights to Travis Kalanick, co-founder and chief of one of the world's most valuable startups, Uber. The young billionaire is also impressed by the innovation and creativity coming from the Indian startup ecosystem.
"I lose sleep because of competition but that sleep I lose is similar to what the Honourable Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) was talking about. That sleep I lose is about how to serve people and cities better. So I like that it is hard, I like the challenge and we feel pretty good about how we are doing so far," Kalanick told PTI on the sidelines of the 'Start Up India' event here.
India is one of the largest markets for Uber globally. Last year, the US-based firm had announced that it will invest USD 1 billion in the country to improve operations, expand into newer cities and develop new products. It has also announced setting up of a facility in Hyderabad, its largest centre outside of the US, with an investment of USD 50 million over the next few years.
However, its local competitor Ola too has announced huge investments to tap into the under-penetrated market. Interestingly, Ola has joined forces with global peers Didi, Lyft and GrabTaxi to jointly compete with Uber that has a presence across 67 countries. Asked about the challenges in the Indian market, Kalanick said these were similar to those in other international cities.
"Challenges for Uber here in India are similar to the challenges in most other cities. You have rules that were adopted in another time and you know what, the old rules that exist today, way back they were new and controversial rules and then they became old," he said.
Kalanick added that these rules are replaced by newer rules that embrace progress, jobs, lowering congestion and reducing pollution. "Of course, we are working and partnering with cities, states and central government generally to embrace the kind of progress that Uber represents," he said.