Google-backed online limo service Uber launches in Dublin

Uber received $258 million in new funding last August from Google Ventures

 Uber driver Shuki Zanna waits for customers in his limousine in Beverly Hills, California.

Uber driver Shuki Zanna waits for customers in his limousine in Beverly Hills, California.

 

Tom Lyons

Uber, a luxury car booking service backed by Google and Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has launched officially in Dublin.

The on-demand service, which was last year valued at $3.5 billion, is understood to have over 60 drivers of luxury cars already signed up to provide services to customers in Dublin.

Jambu Palaniappan, Uber head of EMEA expansion, said: “Our motto as a company is to be everyone’s private driver and we are excited about launching in Dublin.”

Mr Palaniappan said Uber was hiring a general manager for Ireland who would build a small team around them to support its services in Dublin. He said Uber was now in 70 cities worldwide.

“We are a technology company so we are very scalable,” he said.

Mr Palaniappan said part of Uber’s secret was its “vetting process,” which ensured both the cars and drivers it provided were of a high standard.

He said Uber was pitched a different market than Hailo the popular taxi booking service so he did not see his company as competing with it.

“We are a technology company so we are encouraged to see others succeed in that space,” he said.

Today Uber exited trials of its smart-phone application in Dublin and decided to mark this by allowing Irish start-ups pitch to technology investors on short drives around the city.

“We try to do something different in every city we launch in,” Palaniappan said, “In Dublin there is such a thriving tech culture that we wanted to do something that would reflect that.”

Five seasoned investors listened to pitches from start-ups at Uber’s launch today including Eamon Leonard, the founder of Engine Yard, Conor Stanley, a partner in venture capital fund Tribal.vc and Gavan Drohan, deputy director of Wayra Ireland.

Uber received $258 million in new funding last August from Google Ventures, the private equity arm of the internet search firm, and investment giant TPG to fund its international expansion. Its initial clients have included multinationals like Microsoft and Google but also sports stars like Cian Healy, the Irish rugby player.