Is Uber killing the traditional taxi industry a good thing?

Uber is a great service, I love it. The app is brilliant. But … it does come at the cost of killing any competition by bleeding gobs of cash (lost $708 million in the 1st 3 months of 2017 with investors already pumping in $8 billion). Twitter lost $2 Billion in 10 years. That makes me think.

The traditional taxi industry takes the hit as it wouldn’t be able to raise that kind of cash (one could also argue that it doesn’t have the vision). A moral dilemma perhaps as you are killing traditional, sustainable businesses by throwing lots of cash at it. So what is the ‘real’ cost of an Uber ride looking at the losses? In reality you would probably pay more for your Uber ride than a traditional metered taxi. Maybe Uber will turn a profit when it switches to self driving cars and gets rid of its drivers…until then they are using investor money to subsidize rides.

This is the new world we live in:

“Grow first, make money later”

As long as there is the promise of long term return, investors are in it for the long haul and will keep pumping money in to destroy everything in their path for market share. Your entrepreneurs are brain washed by this, trying to raise money at all cost to be the next unicorn business.

In the real estate industry, I see the same scenario with property portals. They are willing to make a loss for years in order to take market share. Once they achieved market share, they are in control to charge estate agents what they want.

I’ve clearly learned the hard way by bootstrapping and getting paying customers first. I’m all for organic growth, and self-sustainable small businesses where everyone loves what they do and don’t have to subject themselves to bureaucratic type corporate rule. I love what I do, we help thousands estate agents and real estate businesses to run better and try to help them be more profitable through automating time consuming tasks. I love the size of our business and the flexibility we have to carve our own path as we don’t have any outside investors. It wasn’t an easy road to get where we are now, and we still face challenges like any other business. We’ve learned to plan better and focus on what matters.

In the not to distant future, we will start a rebuild of our MyProperty South Africa and Namibia portals. We have an empty canvas and have been prototyping a few ideas this year. We don’t have to focus on getting the best paid advertisers the top spots in the search results. We can focus on the consumer and get the best properties in the top results. We don’t have to charge excessively high subscription fees because we don’t have to report to any investors.

Do I want our company to be the next Uber? No. I want to grow organically and have a long term sustainable business that also helps real estate agencies grow and turn profit. We will do this our way, prototyping new real estate technology like we always do, and deliver a few surprises down the road.

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