Embattled Uber Keeps Its Foot On Pedal With Strategic Alliances

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Uber’s had a rough year, to say the least. But a pair of recent moves demonstrate the company’s interest in expanding the nature and extent of its services through strategic alliances:

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Grocery delivery with Walmart

Walmart started testing grocery delivery through a partnership with Uber last year, first in Phoenix and later in Tampa. This week, the retailer announced that the experiment has expanded to Orlando and Dallas, where customers will now be able to select items from Walmart's online grocery store for a personal shopper to pick out and put in an Uber for direct delivery. The service reportedly costs an additional $9.95 on a minimum $30 purchase. The system uses UberRUSH, the ridehailing company's on-demand network.

With Walmart launching grocery delivery services in new cities with Uber's help, the retail behemoth has taken another step forward in its competition with Amazon, which made its own huge food move earlier this summer with its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods. And as for Uber, playing a role in Walmart's sustained growth would give the company a competitive edge over US-based rival Lyft, which has yet to make a concerted push into delivery services.

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Ridehailing collaboration with ComfortDelGro

Uber has engaged ComfortDelGro, a taxi company based in Singapore, to negotiate a possible partnership that would further entrench the ridehailing giant's rivalry with Grab, its chief competitor in Southeast Asia. ComfortDelGro and Uber have agreed to explore potential opportunities for collaboration in fleet vehicle management and booking software services in Singapore that could include making ComfortDelGro’s taxis available on Uber’s app.

Although conventional taxi companies in Singapore have suffered from the growth in ridehailing services, ComfortDelGro has recently made moves to make its service more mobile friendly. Earlier this month, the company added Alipay, the digital payment platform operated by Ant Financial Services, to all 15,000 of its taxis.

As Uber has pulled out of other Asian markets, Singapore has emerged as a hub of sorts for its operations in Southeast Asia. Uber has roughly 15,000 cars held under Lion City Rental, its Singapore-based affiliate, per The Straits Times.

The five most valuable startups in the US have made a number of acquisitions in their respective journeys toward multibillion-dollar valuations. Check out where Uber fits in the mix.

Article by Adam Putz, PitchBook