Enabling X-to-the-xth: the Operational Secret Behind Uber’s Explosive Growth

How does Uber’s operational business model support its tremendous growth since inception?

C. Daniel Guetta, Zhen Lian, Garrett van Ryzin  | Spring 2023
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Uber Technologies was started in 2009 by Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp when, frustrated by the difficulty of attaining cabs in San Francisco, they decided to bring a product to market that would more perfectly match riders with drivers. Prior to Uber, the best alternative was the highly regulated and antiquated taxi cab industry, with a market driven by scarcity and exclusivity due to the high cost of an operating medallion. The young company had to conceive of ways to not only bypass the barriers to entry by using technology, but also to gain both drivers and riders, expand geographically, and improve its product experience by better meeting demand with supply. In this case, students will learn about the incumbent taxi cab industry, market forces that drove the growth of ridesharing as an alternative, and network effects. They will be asked to analyze the factors that drive dominance through network effects and determine a business model to reflect this.

Case ID: 230201

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