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Uber is offering helicopter rides over Mumbai and Bangalore for $85

Uber is offering helicopter rides over Mumbai and Bangalore for $85

By Shruti Chakraborty June 13, 2014

While the cab-hailing app Uber is in the news elsewhere as traditional taxi drivers rise in protest in European capitals, the company, recently valued at $17 billion, looks set to enjoy a weekend of buzz around the brand in India.

In Mumbai and Bangalore, Uber is offering a one-time service this weekend–users can “hail” a chopper. Effectively, they can book a chopper ride from within the app. For Rs5,000 ($85) for two people, an Uber cab will pick you up and take you to a helipad, from where a chopper service operated by a commercial operator will take you on a 20- to 30-minute ride around the city. This will be followed by brunch and a ride back home.

In the US, Uber offered a similar service last summer offering five seats for $3,000.

“We try and look at ways to democratize premium experiences. We will see how the service goes on Father’s Day weekend and then decide on whether we can offer the service more regularly and in other parts of the country,” says Bhavik Rathod, Uber general manager in Bangalore.

Less than 5% of India’s 600,000 taxis are in the organized segment. So investors see major potential. Venture capital firms have invested more than $130 million in the last seven years in radio cab companies and in booking platforms. Uber, which entered India last year, enjoys a reputation among the young and savvy in India’s big cities for the premium vehicles–Honda Civil, Toyota Corolla, Mercedes Benz S-class and Audi A6, among others–it sends its customers.

For this weekend, the initiative is more a brand awareness exercise than anything else, and the company is hoping to attract peak interest. “We are expecting a huge demand for the service, but the number of people we can accommodate will depend on weather conditions and aviation rules about the time till which we can fly,” Rathod said.

Deals on Groupon offer a chopper ride over Mumbai by Air Deccan, the same service provider Uber is using, starting at Rs3499.

 

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About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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