Didi App
Courtesy Didi Chuxing Technology Co.

After further postponing its IPO, Instacart is laying off employees and curbing hiring

Instacart has reportedly been letting some of its employees go, slowing hiring and cutting other expenses as it moves toward a public listing, according to sources cited by The Information in a story on Saturday. 

This comes on the heels of the grocery delivery app’s announcement that the majority of its IPO listing will come from the sale of employee shares. This is allegedly to help Instacart retain talent, allowing them more ways to benefit from their shares, according to The Wall Street Journal. The company has also further postponed its IPO. 

Before that, in March, the company, which saw considerable growth during the pandemic, said it had slashed its valuation by nearly 40 percent to about $24 billion in the wake of market turmoil. 

In fact, the grocery delivery company’s own dubious performance may also be a factor. Mission Local reported earlier this month that, while Instacart continues to report an increase in orders and revenue in advance of its IPO, its San Francisco workers aren’t seeing much evidence of that prosperity. Instead, suffering from a lack of orders, they report that their “sitting time is longer than their working time.”

Drivers’ preference for Uber may be sinking Lyft’s stock values

As of Monday, Lyft’s stock had fallen 19.4 percent, declining for four consecutive days. This follows the Union Bank of Switzerland’s decision to downgrade the company’s rating and slashed its stock price target from $50 to $16, based on a concern that the company will be unable to match Uber’s revenue growth in a slowing economy, according to MarketWatch

“We are on the sidelines for the stock as we think the company’s [long-term] growth [algorithm] is structurally lower in the core ride-sharing business than [Wall] Street is modeling,” wrote Lloyd Walmsley, the UBS analyst who downgraded Lyft’s rating, in a note to clients.

Based on Union Bank of Switzerland’s surveys and data, the problem also extends to drivers who show a preference for Uber. “Drivers typically multi-app, and Uber not only has a lion’s share of the market, its onboarding process is faster and it offers drivers more earnings opportunities,” Walmsley wrote.

Outside the U.S., Didi muscles into the ridesharing battle 

While Lyft and Uber are locked in a fierce U.S. battle, in neighboring Mexico, Chinese ride-hailing app DiDi Chuxing is already winning, having captured 56 percent of the market, according to Mexico-based Yucatán Magazine.

Latin America is a major growth market for rideshare services. Growing urban populations, poor urban planning and limited mobility are the main drivers supporting this market growth. While Uber has claimed parts of Latin America, new data shows that DiDi is undercutting Uber on price and dominating the Mexican market, with customers averaging 2.5 rides on DiDi and 2.2 rides on Uber. Lyft, meanwhile, has announced plans to expand its service to Mexico.

Are Uber drivers unknowingly becoming drug mules?

Some drivers working for Uber Connect, a courier service, are concerned they may have unknowingly become drug mules. While it is unclear when this will become a significant issue for Uber Connect, drivers are talking about it in their online forums, according to NBC News

Uber Connect forbids drivers from opening or tampering with packages, so drivers often have no idea what they are delivering. Packages delivered late at night, sealed with excessive amounts of tape, have raised worries among drivers. Some have expressed concerns about being pulled over by police, or what might happen if angry customers found out they had reported the packages to authorities.

“Even not knowing, you’re still caught holding the bag. And it’s just not worth it for 13 bucks,” a driver in Southern California told NBC News.

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REPORTER. Yujie Zhou is our newest reporter and came on as an intern after graduating from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism. She is a full-time staff reporter as part of the Report for America program that helps put young journalists in newsrooms. Before falling in love with the Mission, Yujie covered New York City, studied politics through the “street clashes” in Hong Kong, and earned a wine-tasting certificate in two days. She’s proud to be a bilingual journalist. Follow her on Twitter @Yujie_ZZ.

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  1. Delivering suspect packages, whose contents are unknown and can’t be verified, does not seem to be good job prospect. As an ‘independent contractor’ you will be left holding the bag – Uber Connect will quickly distance themselves from you – and posting bail.