Started From The Bottom
Gupta started his career providing Palm Pilots to customers in Singapore before creating his own pre-Groupon solution called BuyItTogether. “We were a full-stack marketplace where we were also delivering the goods,” says Gupta. “That’s what caused us to not have good profit margins. Actually, zero profit margins.”
He’s moved into this position party because Uber needs a new logistical strategy. The company was down close to $1 billion its last financial quarter. Gupta was brought in thanks to his “experience with delivery and maps.” That history will apply to Uber’s GPS function, so users always know the right way to go, keeping them using the application.
“We look at ourself at Uber as the starting point of all your transportation needs. Here’s a company that’s causing this interesting change in user behavior. With my own knowledge and capability, I thought I could help the company get to the next level of understanding the real world, which is very different from digital habits,” Gupta reveals during the interview.
The new Officer’s first role involves reworking the GPS which will lead to more accurate rider pickups. That and Gupta will also help create a new loyalty program with a position in “every market.”
A Myriad of Experiences
Gupta has learned how to solve problems. He’s been a successful entrepreneur, lead the HP supply chain, and even worked in high positions at Google India. His start with BuyItTogether lead to a lot of his logistics knowledge.
That company was started back in 1999, and there were no online GPS networks. Instead of hiring retailers to deliver products, they had to do it. Sometime after creation, Gupta sold the company to another group called CoShopper. With them, he worked on moving items “from point A to point B as fast as possible.”
After this was when Gupta joined up with HP. At the time, Dell was beating out the company, and he had to rework their approach. Finally, the now officer received an MBA and began working for Google. There, Gupta expressed his desire to work on a Maps feature. He is the reason Google Maps in India saw its success. He also maintained, MapMaker – a “crowdsourcing tool” where users from small towns uploaded location data that would normally be difficult for Google to gather.
Upon joining Uber in 2015, Gupta had all sorts of different experience solving logistics problems. “I’m here to help,” he says when describing his promotion.
Gupta’s approach will be essential to the success of Uber. Instead of copy and pasting the product in each country, he plans to look at a space and design an Uber app to fit the needs of the location. “One of the things I learned back at Google is that you really have to empower teams that are locally situated,” says Gupta. The logistics expert helped create the streamlined “Uber Lite” app for users with limited internet or slower mobile devices.
As mentioned, Gupta’s first mission is Uber’s rewards program. However, he’s also working to improve Uber’s GPS accuracy:
“We’re rethinking GPS to solve a major pain point for riders and drivers: pick up location. These locations are particularly tricky for GPS to find when they’re in “urban jungles. The technology we’re piloting in a handful of cities improves GPS performance in these cities by using maps and satellite signal strengths to help drivers find pick up points more easily.”
He’s helping ensure that users won’t have to cross streets to get to their Uber. Instead, the car will be on the right side of the road thanks to improved systems.
Gupta emphasizes a positive culture at Uber. His motto is “Do the right thing. Period.” In the world of technology, morals and ethics aren’t always high on the list of most companies. Seeing Gupta realize this and actively act against it is good for the future of the company and the tech industry as a whole.