Exclusive: Uber Eats Quit Brazil Amid Inability to Be No. 1, CEO Says

In Latin America’s largest economy, Uber Eats faced competition from local companies, and for the company’s CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, there is no point staying in a market if you cannot be the leader

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber
June 08, 2022 | 01:45 PM

San Francisco — Uber Eats pulled out of Brazil because it couldn’t beat its Latin American rivals, iFood and Rappi, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg Línea.

“We saw that we couldn’t be the biggest player in Brazil. So, if we couldn’t be number one, we decided to leave and focus on other markets,” Khosrowshahi said on the sidelines of the Bloomberg Tech Summit held Wednesday in San Francisco.

In other markets, such as the United States, Uber Eats has its own app and also works in integration with the main ride-hailing platform.

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Regarding the Brazilian market, Khosrowshahi says Uber sees no sign of recession in the country, and says the company has benefited from the return of mobility.

“We have seen recessions in South America in the past, and we don’t see that here, people are not leaving the platform,” he said during the event. In addition, the company has seen an increase in its driver base in recent months, as drivers feel secure of revenue possibilities with the platform.

Amid a recent wave of layoffs at tech companies and startups amid falling valuations, Khosrowshahi said he doesn’t believe layoffs are necessary for Uber, even though the company’s shares have fallen by around 40% this year.

“We should be more cautious about the scenario. We have a structure that gives us an advantage over other competitors. We have delivery people, drivers,” he said.

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Asked about operating costs, Khosrowshahi said inflation and the price of gasoline are affecting the ecosystem as a whole. But, according to the CEO, the market will adjust, and rides will get cheaper over time.

After a court battle with Waymo, Uber announced a partnership with Alphabet’s autonomous car company to supplement Uber’s fleet of trucks in the United States with autonomous trucks from the Google parent company.

”This deep partnership with Waymo will allow us to access a network of millions of miles, and Waymo will be able to integrate with Uber’s network seamlessly. The partnership brings demand for freight. If the truck driver is software, we want that too,” he said.

He also spoke about efforts by Uber to adopt more electric cars, as, in the United States, drivers who use such vehicles earn more, as their remuneration comes from Uber’s margins.

“The numbers of Uber drivers using Teslas are going up,” he said. But although the company uses Elon Musk’s company’s cars, Khosrowshahi said he doesn’t share Musk’s stance to force employees to return to the office.

“Unlike Elon, we believe in 50-50 flexibility,” he said.