Uber CEO at IIT Delhi: 'I want to make a huge investment in increasing tech talent here,' says Dara Khosrowshahi

We join the CEO of ride-hailing service giant Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi live from IIT Delhi where he will be in fireside chat with CNBC's Shireen Bhan.

We join the CEO of ride-hailing service giant Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi live from IIT Delhi where he will be in conversation with CNBC's Shireen Bhan.

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies. Image: Reuters

Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies. Image: Reuters

Khosrowshahi has held office for five months as CEO for Uber after former CEO Travis Kalanick was relieved of his duties. Kalanick is also expected to answer questions from students later.

highlights

read more
  • 18:22 (IST)

    The event is now over. Thank you for joining us.

  • 18:22 (IST)

    Q: How do you look at the competition?

    DK: We learn from competition all the time. We have a team which is constantly looking at how they operate. I believe great tech companies should be product and customer focused. Part of being more local is having local talent in India. We want to have more engineers. The talent is there and they're smart and intelligent and we want to expand the Indian talent working with Uber.

  • 18:18 (IST)

    Q: When will Uber be profitable and will Uber’s IPO be out next year?

    DK: One advantage we have is that we've a portfolio of markets we work with. Some of these are profitable over others. India is a high-potential market. The profitability profile for India is getting better. We will continue investing in India.

  • 18:17 (IST)

    DK: With regulators, you have to understand what their problems are. And there has to be engagement and partnership. It takes forward-thinking think tanks to get regulators to take the forward-thinking route.

  • 18:15 (IST)

    Q: What specific challenges are you having in India? Do you foresee private cars being included in India?

    DK: India is our fastest growing portfolio. In India, it's essentially taxi-hailing services. In other markets, we have p2p car sharing. That's a huge next market we want to get to in India. This will get congestion down. Our platform is built not just for drivers, but it can also work well with p2p situations.

  • 18:14 (IST)

    DK: We want to increase the UberMOTO product in India. MOTO being a part of everyday commute can be a big product for us. We want to expand the type of mobility products. But we also want to be moving things and Uber Eats is our fastest growing business. Then when you get into pool, we want to lower the cost.

    With autonomous, we will become a true alternative to actual car ownership. In 10 years, car ownership will be a thing of the past. That will reduce congestion, will give a lot more space to for better usage of space than for just parking

  • 18:12 (IST)

    DK: we are looking at expanding our platform to involve other modes of transportation that can be from a third party as well. We just want you to move from point A to B.

  • 18:10 (IST)

    Q: Ola has electric vehicles. Why is Uber late in doing that? What are your plans to bring that to India?

    DK: We are very supportive of EV development and we think the future of mobility is electric, shared and it should be autonomous as well. Express Pool is the next generation of Pool for us and we are looking at India for expansion.

  • 18:08 (IST)

    QnA session begins

  • 18:08 (IST)

    AK: You came to Iran as a 9-year old, but your dad was detained. What are your memories of Iran?

    DK: My memories of Iran have to do with my family. When I go back to the family, they let me know that I'm the little guy there. I think Iran is a very forward-looking society. Women are powerful. Iran has enormous potential, but it had some challenges with religion. There's a lot of potential and I'd love to be a part of it in any way possible.

  • 18:06 (IST)

    AK: Why are there so few women drivers?

    DK: That's got to do with safety and cultural issues. But we want to ensure a safe riding experience for all. Using ratings and quality, we want to ensure that our platform is safe. In the US, the fastest growing driver base is the women base. We have 3 mn entrepreneurs using our platform to make money. We think this is a tremendous opportunity for women as well. In India, regulations prevent it from happening with women. We want women to be able to work on our platform on a part time basis. That's the key to getting more women drivers in our platform.

  • 18:05 (IST)

    Why are there so few women drivers?

  • 18:02 (IST)

    AK: Future of artificial intelligence: How will it bring disruption?

    DK: The way AI is playing out today, automating repetitive tasks, getting an optimal experience for drivers and riders, That requires massive AI at scale. Blockchain, I think, is a technology that will ultimately affect the payments industry going forward. But we are now focused on AI and ML at the moment over Blockchain. I want to leave it open to the payments players.

  • 18:00 (IST)

    What are your views on data privacy and data mining?

  • 17:56 (IST)

    AK: Regulators are always behind innovation. What are the key challenges?

    DK: The key challenge is to build a product that scales in a global scale. You've to build solutions that scale on a global basis. We are connecting to 3 mn active drivers daily.

    We are at the intersection of the digital and physical world. We are digitising the messy physical world.

     The challenge is to ensure that we are having a dialogue with the local city’s authorities.

    We want to reduce the price of Mobility and ensure that is available across the platform to everyone

  • 17:52 (IST)

    AK: How close are we to building flying cars?

    DK: We are close enough. Future battery tech will be dense and high capacity enough to drive air taxis. There will be much lower noise generated. We will have commercialisation in 10 years. We are getting tonnes of interests from cities all over the world

  • 17:50 (IST)

    On going beyond US and UK markets

    DK: We try and cover as many cities as we can. I think companies who only focus on their core markets are missing out on the global pie. Transportation is a 5 bn dollar industry and we are just one percent. You have to keep investing across geographies

  • 17:49 (IST)

    AK: You sold off to Didi I'm China. Do you think that years hence you will take over Ola?

    DK: At this point, I’m not thinking of acquisition.

  • 17:46 (IST)

    On Ola:

    DK: Their competition is great, and it makes out product better. We are leading in the marketplace. It’s a constant battle with Ola on a daily basis. Ola is hyperlocal, but we have smart engineers building great solutions. We have a global advantage, but in India we have to be more local. It has to be more attuned to the Indian customer.

  • 17:43 (IST)

    AK: How do you view Uber in India?

    DK: We consider the Indian market as our core. How we perform as a company will depend a lot on how we perform in India. Cars are step one. But we want to expand to mobility across modes of transportation. We want to move people as well as things. Uber Eats does that with food. Later, with autonomous tech, we will change the game of mobility.

    The next step for us is to move regulations forward from taxi hailing to true car sharing. Zero emission, on demand.

  • 17:42 (IST)

    AK: Your name means King of Kings. So you're one of the most distinguished immigrants of America. What are your views on immigration?

    DK: I think the US is a nation of immigrants at its core. The American dream is the greatest trends in the world. Everybody in the world understands what it means. Everyone knows that you can make it here. I was incredibly lucky to get to America at a time when immigrants were welcome.

    If you look at the Indians who are leading tech companies, such as Satya and Sundar, it’s fascinating. I think the current atmosphere is a short-sighted view and that will change. I'm incredibly lucky to be American

  • 17:41 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi on immigration

  • 17:37 (IST)

    AK: How come you never came to India despite being Expedia CEO?

    DK: I tried, but never got the Visa.

  • 17:35 (IST)

    Amitabh Kant: Before Uber, Dara was the CEO of Expedia and turned it around after 9/11. How does it feel to head an organisation and turn around a culture?

    Dara Khosrowshahi: Thanks for that easy question. It’s a delight to be here. I want to thank you for being forward thinking and using technology to solve issues.

    I feel great to be the CEO of Uber. And I knew what I was getting into. I knew we had our challenges with leaks, culture, etc.

    But Mobility as a service that is available to everyone on a reliable basis is very important. Sure, there are challenges, but we want to focus on having a great product. The first five months have been productive.

  • 17:32 (IST)

    Preparing for a panel discussion on the future of sustainable mobility

  • 17:29 (IST)

    Elon Musk and Dara Khosrowshahi engage in some (playful?) banter

  • 17:25 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi's first selfie in India!

  • 17:10 (IST)

    Stay tuned for live updates on a session with Amitabh Kant.

    The session is expected to start at 5.30 pm

  • 16:30 (IST)

    The Fireside Chat is now over. 

  • 16:30 (IST)

    Why dig tunnels when you can use the air?: Dara Khosrowshahi

  • 16:28 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi on Hyperloop

    We like Uber Air more. We are working to making VTOL a reality in the next 5-6 years. Why dig tunnels when you can use the air?

  • 16:26 (IST)

    We are focused on having proper dialogues with regulators: Dara Khosrowshahi

  • 16:24 (IST)

    Dara tells what we can expect in terms of security in Uber

    Q: What more can we expect in terms of security? 
    DK: The most important factor for us is to use data to understand how a driver is driving. Whether their driving is ringing any alarm bells. Making driving safer is a big deal as many people die every year due to accidents. We want to ultimately move to autonomous driving.
    We were guilty of not having a proper dialogue with regulators in the past. We are more focussed on having clear dialogues now. Every city wants to improve transportation and mobility. That's something that we can drive.
    While we've had our faults, our company is a force for good.

  • 16:22 (IST)

    Dara talks about the importance of high-quality service

    DK: The challenge of creating a high-quality service every single time as more people get in the platform is very important for me

  • 16:21 (IST)

    Uber's top priority is safety: Dara Khosrowshahi

  • 16:20 (IST)

    Dara talks about overcoming stress and anxiety

    Q: How do you overcome stress and anxiety?
    DK: I work out and exercise every single morning. I feel anxiety does not help things. It just complicates matters. See, my family lost everything and yet, here I am with you all as the CEO of Uber. You loose and then you build everything back up. I think the loss that my family suffered early in life make me work harder and hungry for success. Failure should not drag you down.

  • 16:19 (IST)

    Dara talks about India's importance and its work ethic

  • 16:14 (IST)

    Dara explains what he is doing to minimise losses

    Q: What are the aspects you are looking at when you’re trying to reduce losses?
    I'm looking forward to increasing automation. I want to make sure that every driver and rider gets an excellent experience. Using automation to reduce errors will help us reduce costs.

  • 16:12 (IST)

    Dara tells us about his future plans while he was in college

  • 16:10 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi discusses partnering up in the future

    Q: Would partnerships be something that you would look at? 
    DK: Definitely. This market is a growing one. It will grow 40x and 50x in the near future. If partnerships can increase our reach, we will be open to partnerships as well.

  • 16:09 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi ​ tells us what he is looking for in a product 

    Q: What would make you write out a cheque?
    DK: I’d focus on how obsessed the person is with the product and how they will get it right every single time. The user experience has to be very good. They should know not just what goes right, but also what goes wrong and they should know how to fix it.

  • 16:07 (IST)

    Dara talks about the one thing he wants to change in Uber

  • 16:04 (IST)

    Dara discusses the possibility of India becoming a trillion dollar economy

    Q: What's your take on India becoming a trillion-dollar economy?
    DK: The potential for India is enormous. The technical talent is huge. I want to make a huge investment in increasing tech talent here. Indian market is a demanding market, which is food for us. If a company can make product work in India, it can work anywhere else in the world.
    We are digitising the real world. We have to work out the messiness and make it predictable and affordable. How you do that at scale, that's a challenge. India provides a great opportunity for that kind of testing.

  • 16:03 (IST)

    QnA session with students begins

  • 16:02 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi talks about regulatory risks

    Q:What are the regulatory risks that you’re most concerned about?
    DK: We had a tough 2017. There's a real temptation in that kind of world to shift too far the other way and be too conservative. We've not done everything right, but we’ve done a lot right. The entrepreneurship, the scaling of business was right. We want to take those good things and work with regulators to put our product forward.

  • 16:01 (IST)

    Uber is looking to transport goods from one place to another says Dara Khosrowshahi  ​

    DK: Uber for freight, autonomous tracking technology, we’re now actively working on getting not just people, but also the goods from A to B.

  • 16:00 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi wants Uber to become the Amazon of mobility services

  • 15:58 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi talks about opening Uber's mobility platform

    DK: We also want to open our mobility platform. In SF we have third-parties who are using our platform for their services. I want to get to a world where the last-mile connectivity is seamless. Out tech is going to expand from private partnerships to public space. I want Uber to get you from point A to Point B irrespective of the mode of transport.

  • 15:56 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi talks about an IPO for Uber and taking the company public

    Q: What will be the other considerations for an IPO?
    DK: Most important is there market condition and the systems. We are very focused on the product. How it works with drivers and riders and how AI plays a role. You've to invest in your systems, that is necessary for the company to go public. The company did the right thing when it focused on product. Market dynamics will be the determining factors will be important.

  • 15:52 (IST)

    Dara Khosrowshahi compares Uber to Amazon

    DK: I’d compare Uber with Amazon, who started with books and then got into different spaces. We want to be the Amazon of mobility services. We now have Pool, Eats and so on. We will be adding new products in the transport space.





also see

science