Should Uber Be Worried About Juno?

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There’s been lots of buzz recently amongst drivers over a brand new ridesharing firm in New York City (NYC) referred to as Juno.  If you haven’t heard of them, they’re the brand new self-proclaimed “driver friendly alternative” to Uber, they usually’re not shy about that reality both.

We’ve recognized about Juno since January of 2016, however regardless of nonetheless being in beta, they’ve just lately accomplished 1 million journeys in NYC and opened up pre-registration to drivers all throughout the nation.  It seems as if they’re on the brink of do some massive issues.

But how huge can Juno get, and will Uber be frightened about them?

Juno may be coming soon to a city near you, but is all the hype surrounding Juno enough to knock Uber off its rideshare throne?

Juno Timeline

May 2015 – Juno is “launched” in secret in Tel Aviv, Israel by Talmon Marco.

January 2016 – Juno begins paying NYC Uber and Lyft drivers to collect knowledge on rides.

February 2016 – The media starts writing about Juno (right here’s our first post about Juno).

May 2016 – Juno celebrates its one year anniversary.

June 2016 – Juno launches in beta in NYC.

August 2016 – Juno hits 1 million trips in NYC.

October 2016 – Juno opens up pre-registration to all drivers outdoors of NYC.

What’s Different About Juno?

I feel the typical individual vastly underestimates the time, power and cash required to start a rideshare company.  I get a whole lot of chilly pitches concerning the subsequent “Uber-killer”, and I typically work with the more serious ones however not often do these concepts truly turn into corporations.

Anyone can put up a touchdown web page and name it an organization, however not many individuals can take issues to the subsequent degree.  However, Juno has two of an important issues I search for with new rideshare corporations.

#1: They perceive drivers’ ache factors

I’ve all the time felt there’s a big disconnect between what it’s wish to be an precise driver and staff at rideshare corporations.  Lyft is best than Uber on this regard, however the shortcomings with Uber are clear to me of their messaging, insurance policies and communication with drivers – they only don’t have a terrific deal with on what it’s wish to be a driver and what issues most to drivers.  Or perhaps they do and simply can’t do a lot about it.

Either approach, Juno appears to actually get what issues to drivers, they usually’ve constructed an organization round it.  Anyone can say they need to construct a driver-friendly product, however Juno plans to handle most of the prime ache factors for Uber drivers:

  • Higher pay
  • Lower fee taken on every experience
  • Equity within the firm
  • 24/7 buyer help by way of telephone
  • In-app tipping

You can learn extra about Juno’s proposed choices to drivers here.

#2: They have an skilled founder and a strong workforce

I feel an enormous cause why Juno received a lot consideration once they first launched was as a result of their founder, Talmon Marco, was an skilled entrepreneur greatest recognized for co-founding the messaging app Viber.  And contemplating his final firm sold to Rakuten for $900 million, he looks like a reasonably certified individual to tackle an organization like Uber.  One factor I’ve discovered in my profession is that whereas concepts are necessary, the workforce and the execution are what matter most.

If you look again on the historical past of rideshare, it was truly Sidecar after which Lyft that pioneered the “UberX” ridesharing mannequin everyone knows and love at the moment.  Uber began out in 2009 as a black automotive solely service, however as soon as they noticed how properly the opposite two have been doing, they shifted towards UberX in 2012 and the remaining is historical past.  So whereas being first is necessary, I’d argue that having an awesome workforce that may out execute others is much more essential.

I don’t know if Juno has that group, however they’re off to a very good begin.

Driver-centric vs Passenger-centric Model

With Uber, there’s little doubt the passenger comes first.  Whether it’s a minor fare dispute or a more serious accusation, Uber’s insurance policies and the best way they deal with drivers clearly favor passengers.  I’ve undoubtedly observed Uber releasing extra driver-friendly options through the years, however to me, the passenger-centric mannequin is deeply ingrained into Uber’s tradition, and that’s on the root of plenty of the issues between Uber and its drivers.  Even if Uber have been to utterly change course and put drivers first, the corporate has gotten so huge so quick, it might be too late.

This drawback isn’t distinctive to Uber although.  Lots of huge firms wrestle with this as they develop, because it’s more durable to adapt and alter to the marketplace.  But it’s additionally the rationale why start-ups are born.  They acknowledge a chance or a gap out there and exploit it to their benefit earlier than the larger participant realizes what’s occurred.  Uber’s proven their mannequin works and, though I’m biased, I feel there’s actual alternative to construct an organization that drivers truly need to be part of and never simply work for.

How Is Juno’s Strategy Working So Far?

David vs Goliath tales are all the time interesting to the general public, in order you can think about Juno is off to a scorching begin with the media.  But they’ve additionally garnered a whole lot of consideration from present drivers.  In NYC, Juno has truly relied primarily on phrase of mouth advertising as a way to appeal to new drivers, they usually’re as much as 10,000 drivers and doing over 100,000 rides every week.

(They did pay drivers $25/week initially simply to collect knowledge and 500 shares of inventory for driver referrals till just lately).

Those numbers sound spectacular and, regardless of Uber having round 35,000 drivers in New York City, it highlights the truth that signing up numerous drivers on a budget goes to be the straightforward half for Juno.  Uber has already executed all the heavy lifting right here, particularly in a spot like NYC the place there are a lot larger obstacles to entry for drivers (additional insurance coverage and licensing necessities).

As Juno seems to broaden and sign up drivers outside of NYC, they’re providing zero.5% of the earnings of each driver that you simply refer.  I like this technique as a result of it will get drivers and other people like me speaking about them, however how do you retain these drivers engaged after you signal them up?

sign-up-to-drive-with-juno

What Do Drivers Care Most About?

Whenever individuals ask me what drivers care most about, my reply is fairly easy: they care about their pay.  In reality, all the prime trafficked articles on my website need to do with issues like: how a lot are you able to make as a driver?, the best way to make extra as a driver, and so on.  And a whole lot of the complaints I get should do with fares being too low or drivers not making sufficient cash.

So whereas Uber might tout the flexibility of being a driver as a prime cause why individuals enroll, pay might be probably the most necessary issue.  But Uber’s pay has been steadily decreasing over the previous three years and, in New York particularly, Uber cut driver pay by 15% in early 2016.

Juno’s messaging has made it appear to be they’re going to pay drivers greater than Uber, however I don’t see how that’s going to be attainable – the companies are simply too comparable.  The extra possible state of affairs is that Juno can pay drivers about the identical quantity as Uber however attempt to differentiate themselves with their ancillary choices (the fairness, 24/7 help line, and so on).

Driver fairness is a brilliant transfer, however it’s simply as necessary to unravel all of these micro pain points that Uber drivers face each day and trigger a number of them to give up.  This is one space I feel Uber has struggled mightily in as a result of I’ve been listening to the identical complaints from drivers for years.  Uber might by no means budge on larger pay and a tip choice, however there are an entire host of mutually useful low-hanging fruits on the market for the taking.

One instance of this might be customer support for drivers.  This is one space the place Uber simply can’t appear to determine issues out, and it virtually looks like issues are getting worse quite than higher.  While customer support is a troublesome job, it’s not unattainable.  I really like coping with customer support brokers from corporations like Amex and Amazon, so I’m unsure what Uber’s excuse is.  Juno’s 24/7 telephone help line is already hanging a chord with drivers as a result of they will truly get good assist, and it supplies the other expertise from what they get with Uber.

Juno has already efficiently recognized most of Uber’s prime weaknesses, and if they will present a midway respectable expertise, they arrive out wanting means higher than Uber in a number of key areas.

Where Juno May Struggle

I feel the most important query mark for Juno is whether or not or not they’ll be capable of get passengers over to their service.  During the preliminary beta launch, new Juno passengers might solely enroll by way of present Juno drivers, they usually have been enticed with ’20-25% off Uber fares’ promotions.  Juno drivers additionally acquired $15 for each Juno passenger they signed up, so you can think about there was an enormous incentive there.

If we take a look at Lyft’s technique over the previous yr, we see that regardless of the identical drivers and an almost equivalent app as Uber, Lyft has been capable of steadily gain market share in a variety of Uber’s prime markets by providing heavy experience reductions.  That technique may fit properly for each Lyft and Juno within the brief time period, however I simply don’t assume it is sensible to attempt to undercut the pricing of an organization with considerably extra money than you over the long run.

Juno has examined some fascinating messaging like what’s above, however since passengers are so worth delicate, phrase of mouth advertising isn’t as viable a technique with Juno passengers.  And to be trustworthy, most Uber passengers are fairly glad with the service.  In reality, lots of riders I speak to LOVE Uber. When Uber disrupted taxis, their progress was spearheaded by the truth that nobody appreciated truly taking a taxi – it was a horrible expertise.  But the Uber app at this time has inherent options inbuilt, like the power to name a experience with an app, bank card cost and scores for drivers that make it a terrific product.  So how will Juno persuade a cheerful passenger to modify from Uber to Juno with out providing a reduction?

I feel Juno wants to focus on the Uber riders who’re most dissatisfied with the service and construct from there.  Juno has began doing this by solely accepting four.X rated or greater Uber drivers nevertheless it’s going to should go a lot additional than that.  We’re going to wish to see some artistic advertising that targets the weakest areas of the Uber passenger expertise.  That might embrace determining a greater method to do surge pricing, precise loyalty packages for riders and highlighting Uber’s questions of safety with feminine passengers.

Ultimately, I feel Juno’s messaging that “we treat drivers better” simply doesn’t transfer the needle for passengers, and I haven’t seen a lot aside from reductions that inform me how they plan to construct long run passenger progress.

Juno Was Right About Drivers Though

The one factor we all know for positive is that Juno has appropriately recognized that drivers don’t have any loyalty to Uber.  Juno has been one of many hottest subjects in my inbox this yr, and it looks like drivers are simply ready for the service to return to their metropolis.  So regardless of all of the funding Uber has made in sign-up bonuses, incentives and extra, drivers are nonetheless signing up for Juno en masse.  And because the variety of drivers is all the time the limiting progress issue for these companies, this must be a worrisome improvement for Uber.

I don’t see a state of affairs through which Juno turns into the dominant market participant, because the product the buyer sees is so just like Uber, however I do see the potential for a extra balanced market share.  New York is the right place for Juno to check issues out, too, since you could have a lot greater percentages of full-time drivers, and people are actually the drivers that are typically the unhappiest with Uber.

Uber’s sensible although, and you may make sure they’re rigorously watching what Juno is doing.  I feel it’s slightly late for Uber to utterly change course, nevertheless it wouldn’t shock me to see them come out with a couple of of the very same options that Juno is providing to drivers.  So should you’re an Uber driver, don’t be stunned if there’s an Uber hotline you can name sooner or later.

Drivers, what do you consider Juno?  Are they an organization that Uber must be apprehensive about or is it simply too late?  How do you assume Juno ought to develop its passenger base so as to have sufficient rides for drivers?

-Harry @ RSG

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I am Harry, the proprietor and founding father of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I was a full-time engineer however now I am a rideshare blogger! I write about my expertise driving for Uber, Lyft, and different providers and my objective is to assist drivers earn extra money by working smarter, not more durable.

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