Uber Technologies Inc. (Uber) is a tech startup that provides ride sharing services by facilitating a connection between independent contractors (drivers) and riders with the use of an app. Uber has expanded its operations to 58 countries around the world and is valued at around $41 billion. Because its services costs less than taking a traditional taxi, in the few years it has been in business Uber and similar ride sharing services have upended the taxi industry. The company has experienced resounding success and is looking toward expansion both internationally and within the United States.
However, Uber’s rapid success is creating challenges in the form of legal and regulatory, social, and technical obstacles. The taxi industry, for instance, is arguing that Uber has an unfair advantage because it does not face the same licensing requirements as they do. Others accuse Uber of not vetting their drivers, creating potentially unsafe situations. An accusation of rape in India has brought this issue of safety to the forefront. Some major cities are banning ride sharing services like Uber because of these various concerns. Additionally, Uber has faced various lawsuits, including a lawsuit filed against them by its independent contractors. Its presence in the market has influenced lawmakers to draft new regulations to govern this “app-driven” ride sharing system. Legislation can often hinder a company’s expansion opportunities because of the resources it must expend to comply with regulatory requirements.