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This Estonian Start-Up Has Become a Thorn in Uber’s Side

TALLINN, Estonia — Uber used to dominate ride-hailing in Poland and Kenya. Over the past two years, that started to change.In Poland, a small competitor opened a rival service and began winning customers with cheaper fares and attracting drivers by charging lower commissions. In Kenya, that same upstart grabbed business by offering motorbike rides and letting passengers pay using a popular mobile payments provider.In both countries, Uber responded by spending more money on new incentives to entice customers and drivers.The rival that put Uber on the defensive is called Bolt. Based in Estonia, it was founded six years ago by a 19-year-old college dropout, Markus Villig. Since…

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The Real Stars of the Internet

I’ve been to the bagel place down the street from my apartment maybe a hundred times. The staff is friendly. I like the food. They’re always open. Lots of people have their own opinions about it. Googling “Smith Street Bagels” produces pages of listings, most accompanied by star ratings visible right there in the results, in bright Google orange, from places like Seamless, Yelp and Google itself. “I search maybe five or six sites every week, just to see what flow is going on,” said Juan Alicea, who manages the Brooklyn shop. Each website has its idiosyncrasies. Yelp reviewers write like restaurant reviewers. (“Yelp is where people…

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Uber’s Self-Driving Cars Are Valued at $7.25 Billion by Investors

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber’s autonomous vehicle unit is receiving a new investment, the company said late Thursday, just days before it begins pitching its business to public investors.SoftBank, Toyota and the Japanese automaker Denso will put $1 billion toward Uber’s effort to develop autonomous cars. As Uber marches toward an I.P.O., the deal will help shield the company from tough questions about how the money-losing endeavor is harming its profit prospects.The self-driving unit, known as the Autonomous Technology Group, or A.T.G., will be restructured as part of the deal, allowing for a targeted investment rather than a broad investment in Uber, a ride-hailing giant with a number…

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Tech Fix: Uber vs. Lyft: Which Ride-Hailing App Is Better?

Uber and Lyft recently made clear that they are in the ride-hailing business for the long haul. Shortly after Lyft went public with plenty of fanfare last month, Uber shared its plans for its own initial public offering.So now feels like the right time to ask: Is one of the apps definitively superior for hitching rides? While both services look identical, there are major differences. Uber is richer in features and available in more cities. Yet Lyft is more transparent in its receipts about the details of a trip, which can help consumers understand when prices increase; Uber’s opaque receipts could leave people perplexed.I have used Uber…

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in her words: #WhatsMyName Stresses Safety for Uber Riders

ImageCreditLilli CarréYou’re reading In Her Words, where women rule the headlines. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox. Let me know what you think at dearmaya@nytimes.com.“It has to be automatic, like putting on a seatbelt. You have to ask, ‘What’s my name?’”Marci Josephson, whose daughter Samantha was found murdered hours after she got into a car that she mistook for her Uber#WhatsMyName.That hashtag has been gaining ground on Twitter, part of a safety campaign started by University of South Carolina students, who are grappling with the murder of a fellow student. They’re imploring riders of Uber and Lyft to ask their drivers, “What’s my…

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Who Goes Public When? Tech Companies Maneuver to Stand Out in the Horde

SAN FRANCISCO — When Jennifer Tejada, chief executive of PagerDuty, decided to take the software company public, she wanted to avoid this week. The stock market closes on Good Friday, and many people are on spring break. She had also feared being drowned out by a horde of other tech initial public offerings.“I remember saying, ‘I hope we don’t get run over by the ‘unicorn’ stampede,’” she said, using the term for private companies valued at more than $1 billion.Pinterest, a digital pin board company that is also going public, wanted to beat Friday’s holiday, according to a person familiar with the situation. It wound up scheduling…

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He Has Driven for Uber Since 2012. He Makes About $40,000 a Year.

COTATI, Calif. — Uber’s public stock offering next month will make a bunch of people remarkably rich. Peter Ashlock is not one of them, although he has toiled for the ride-hailing company almost since the beginning.Mr. Ashlock, who will be 71 next week, has racked up more than 25,000 trips as an Uber driver since 2012. His Nissan Altima has 218,000 miles on it — nearly the distance to the moon. His passengers rate him 4.93 out of five stars. His favorite review: “Dude drove like a cabdriver.”While he is an integral part of Uber’s success, Mr. Ashlock is barely getting by. His 2018 tax return will…

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What Exactly Is Uber’s ‘Core Platform Contribution Margin’?

It’s a timeworn tradition for technology companies to resort to an array of jargon and technical terms to describe their operations — especially if they’re not making a profit.There’s WeWork’s “community-adjusted Ebitda,” which strips out expenses like taxes and marketing. Or you may have forgotten about “adjusted consolidated segment operating income,” also known as “Acsoi” (pronounced ACK-soy), which Groupon briefly used in the run-up to its initial public offering. (To critics, such measures sometimes equate to “earnings without all the bad stuff.”)[Uber is losing $1.8 billion a year, its I.P.O. filing reveals.]Uber is no exception, deploying a number of metrics in its newly filed prospectus to describe…

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Uber, Losing $1.8 Billion a Year, Reveals I.P.O. Filing

SAN FRANCISCO — Uber, the ride-hailing service that has upended transportation around the world, took a major step toward the largest initial public offering in years when it officially unveiled its finances in a prospectus on Thursday.The offering, which could value Uber at around $100 billion, is expected to reverberate through global financial markets and to solidify the company’s position as one of the most consequential technology firms of the past decade. The share sale would be the biggest since the Alibaba Group of China began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in 2014, and would peg Uber’s value at more than four times that of…

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Uber Is Said to Aim for I.P.O. Valuation of Up to $100 Billion

Uber gave the first sign on Wednesday of how big its initial offering might be, telling some investors that its stock sale might value it at up to $100 billion, people briefed on the matter said.The number, which is below a $120 billion valuation that had been floated by investment bankers, highlights the size of the ride-hailing giant as it prepares to embark its market debut, the biggest in recent years. Its shares are expected to begin trading on the public markets next month.The revelation also follows the I.P.O. last month of Uber’s main North American competitor, Lyft, whose shares have dropped more than 15 percent from…

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