Startup Social Impact – Learnings from UBER – Social Impact

Credit - chicagoTribune
Credit – chicagoTribune

As an Entrepreneur, I have always been fascinated by the impact we make in people live’s – employees, partners, customers etc.

I recently visited USA after 8 long years and was great to see the country change so much! I had driven occasionally in US before and this time was very conscious in saving money and experiencing UBER.

I spent an entire month in commute in Bay Area and Raleigh on UBER. It did work out economically than renting a car. UBER = USD 395 (total trip of 30 days), while Car Rental = ~ USD 1250 (across 2 cities). Gross Savings of 216%

I’m a great fan of UBER in Bangalore as well (not so much of OLA), While the experience of the App, booking etc was the same, the Surprise element came in the “Conversations” and the “People” in the Cabs (read Drivers and Passengers). As an Entrepreneur Im always looking at ways to have a conversation to get a PULSE of the city, politics, business etc.

The biggest difference I saw was the “Uber Drivers” background between US and India. Many of the drivers in the US were people who had a Full time Day Job in various walks of life including High Tech, Restaurant Managers etc. Some of them were students as well. There were many who had left other jobs and took up UBER as it paid a higher $/hr for their time, background and skills. They dont mind working harder to meet their needs.

UBER has not only disrupted the Transportation and Automobile Industry, but has created labor shortage in many other low paying industries in US.

A driver in bayarea makes ~ USD 800 per week for 4 hrs of driving while a full time driver with UBER makes USD 1200 – USD 1500 per week. This is ~2x of what a Housekeeping personnel would make in US. This has created huge labor shortage in Housekeeping,Construction businesses etc

The value of appreciation in the “$/hr” earned is very high in US when compared to India.

The Social impact of this is leading to the Drivers having more time in their life to spend on activities that matter most to them, some are able to pay off their bills, get their kids better life, get themselves extra bucks to have a holiday, pay for health insurance etc. There has been no better alternate to make legitimate money in US using basic skills of driving a car!

This is a huge impact – Time, Money & above all “RESPECT”

In India, Uber Drivers are mostly (read 99%) the traditional drivers who were driving taxis and now appear on UBER. This is a big change for this section of population. Several of them have thrived in the UBER economy and fear that this might change! The social impact is recognized but not highly valued (yet). With Choking roads in every city in India, It would be great to see many of US become a part of the UBER economy of either signing up on the platform or become an entrepreneur on UBER economics (Hire more drivers and use your cars).

In either ways, you can contribute to the whole new way of creating a Social Impact that has changed people lives for the better!

One of the key things I learnt from this UBER economy through conversations, is that the Impact on people lives that can enhance their quality of life every day in a significant manner, will go a long way for the Brand and the Company to become a Sustainable business as people live it and vouch for it EVERY SINGLE DAY!

As a Startup, its important to have a significant view from the start on the Social Impact (Employees, Customers, Partners etc) our business or idea will have and a way to measure it.

If the Startup through its strategy can connect the Dots for Social Impact, Voila you have a viable business that will live longer!

Everyone wants to HELP!

Everyone wants to HELP!

I have been living in an apartment community for over 9 years now. It was very hard move as we never lived in an apartment before. We bought our apartment at the peak of the real estate and Bangalore boom. Like in every project (even now), getting your maintenance agency is very vital (there is no prize for best vendor).

As we changed vendors over the years (through the association) some of the keys guys got retained as they “knew” the system of everything in the apartment (equipment, wiring, plumbing, constraints, violations, shortcuts etc).

Over the years, these guys became part of the community. Recently when one of the guys fell sick, there was chaos as he was the Defacto “Goto” guy for everyone in the apartment. Work stopped, service levels reduced until someone else “Owned” the responsibility. But the problem was greater. He was diagnosed with something severe and had to be operated. For his salary, the hospital bill was like a Mt. Everest, but no one knew the gravity of this situation.

Very soon a SOS from the Association President was sent to collect money from all residents to help. This is where all Humanity and prejudice theories fell through. In flat 48 hours, the community of 95 households pooled in over 150% of the Target amount. More interesting fact emerged – close to 100% of the residents contributed to the cause without any fuss.

Im sure several residents already donate to charity/trusts/foundations but yet did not hesitate to come forward to help out a person in need who was part of the community.

With the extra funds, the association decided to take up a Health Insurance of Rs 1 Lakh cover to ensure that all staff were protected and manage their health situations better.

This initiative proved a simple fact that a “Cause” that impacts everyone and when the recipient is no stranger, then EVERYONE WANTS TO HELP!

Cheers to Humanity!

This one incident brought out the greatness in every resident and united the community together! Today, we are talking, discussing and working on greater causes in the community that impacts several others in our neighborhood!

Today as I write, Im a very happy and proud community member!

PS – The guy who fell sick recovered well, is back to work and undergoing regular checkups and reporting his health status to the association and is ever grateful to the help, support and good will extended by the community!