Uber’s ambitions are grander than cars (even the flying or self-driving types), and the company has chosen a long-time Uber executive to run a new business that’s focused on other ways for people to move.
In an internal reorganization, Rachel Holt, who was running the ride-hailing business operations in the US and has been with Uber for nearly seven years, will now be in charge of the New Modalities group, centered around the company’s new lines of business. This includes Uber’s recent acquisitions in bike-sharing, and it’s partnerships with rental car company Getaround and city transit app Wasabi. Holt will be in charge of both growing those businesses and identifying new opportunities for the company to either partner with or acquire.
“This is new for us and it’s a new space for us to play,” Holt said.
Uber made its first moves in January when it launched a partnership with Jump, a New York City based bike-sharing startup. The Uber-Jump deal showed early signs of success, and Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, in his first major acquisition since becoming CEO, swooped in to acquire the bike-sharing startup in April. It's since expanded its bike network internationally to Berlin, a first step in Uber’s ambitions to experiment with these business lines on a global scale. (For more on the bikesharing competition, read "Wheels Of Fortune: Can Ofo Spin Its Chinese Bike-share Business Into The US?") Uber is also getting into the scooter wars after it applied for a permit in San Francisco to test a scooter-sharing service.
While there's a lot of excitement around bikes, it's not the only area where Uber is experimenting, and Holt is quick to say they're not closed off to doing more deals. Uber also partnered with Getaround, a peer-to-peer car rental company so you can now rent cars directly from the Uber app. In another partnership, Uber teamed up with Masabi, a mobile train ticketing startup, so you can also buy train tickets. Holt’s job now is not only to identify future acquisitions and partnerships, but also find the talent inside Uber to help support them.
For Holt, the new position is a throwback to the early days of Uber when she joined seven years ago in how to scale and grow a new business. This time around, she’ll have the support of a corporate behemoth behind her.
“I feel like I've gotten to live and experience the growth that we have at Uber. And to be able to take that expertise and do it again… I think creates a pretty unique opportunity,” Holt said.