Uber may launch bus services soon; Zomato fires customer support employees

Uber may launch bus services soon; Zomato fires customer support employees
Photo Credit: Photo Credit: VCCircle
8 Aug, 2019

SoftBank-backed payments firm Paytm saw a drop in UPI transactions during the month of July, even as overall UPI transactions soared. Buses on Indian roads are next on Uber’s agenda. Zomato has laid off more people as part of a cost rationalisation drive.

Uber may roll out buses in India

Nearly a year after it rolled out its first-ever bus service in Cairo, Egypt, San Francisco-based ride hailing platform Uber may soon deploy buses on Indian roads, according to a Moneycontrol report, citing Pradeep Parameswaran, head of Uber India and South Asia. 

Parameswaran told the publication that the company is in the process of working out the modalities of the bus service offering. The service could go live in the next 12 months, he said. 

Uber’s homegrown rival Ola had also forayed into bus services back in 2015 with the launch of Shuttle. The services, however, was scrapped last year after being launched across multiple cities.

Other startups in this category include Cityflo, Shuttl and ZipGo.

In June, intra-city bus shuttle operator Cityflo had raised funds from People Group founder Anupam Mittal and venture capital firm India Quotient. The company did not disclose the amount.

Shuttl, the Amazon-backed intra-city bus aggregator had raised $6 million (Rs 42 crore then) in its $20 million funding round. It also raised $1.3 million (around Rs 9.2 crore then) in venture debt from Trifecta Capital, in January.

Chatbots eat jobs at Zomato 

Online food delivery platform Zomato has fired 60 employees from its customer support team in Gurugram as part of a cost rationalisation drive that involves deploying chatbots, according to an Economic Times report.

The foodtech unicorn had laid off about 300 employees, mostly in the US, in 2015 as part of another cost rationalisation exercise.

Last month, it discontinued PiggyBank, a reward points programme for loyal customers. In June, the company had expanded its food delivery services to https://www.techcircle.in/2019/06/03/zomato-rolls-out-in-100-cities-over-2-months-reaches-300-milestone300 cities, adding 100 regions within months of crossing the 200 cities milestone.

In March, it inked a deal to sell its UAE business to Delivery Hero while also raising fresh capital from Berlin-headquartered online food delivery firm to close its latest funding round.

Paytm sees drop in UPI transactions in July

Paytm, the Delhi based digital payments unicorn, saw a sharp drop in unified payments interface (UPI) transactions in July at less than 140 million, said an Economic Times report. July also saw overall UPI transactions soar to 822 million.

While Paytm accounted for 16% of overall UPI transactions in July, rivals Google Pay and PhonePe snagged a 35% share each, the report said.

Meanwhile, Facebook owned messaging platform WhatsApp is also readying for a foray into this market. 

It is planning to roll out Whatsapp Pay across India later this year. Whatsapp Pay, a pilot launched in early 2018, is available to select one million users so far.

Seattle headquartered ecommerce giant Amazon is also beefing up its presence in this market. Amazon Corporate Holdings Singapore had infused Rs 450 crore ($64.2 million then) in Amazon Pay, the ecommerce platform’s digital payments vertical in India.