Ride-sharing platform Uber is rolling out UberPitch, wherein anyone with the Uber app on their phone can dial in a promo code indicating that they’d like to pitch an idea to any one of a number of investors and entrepreneurs who will be riding around in Uber cars on April 7, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. local times.
To dial an investor, the instructions are pretty simple.
Tap the top left button in your Uber app to access your profile, select “Promotions” and enter the appropriate promo code, depending on your city.
A car will roll up with an investor or entrepreneur inside, ready to hear your pitch. You’ve got 15 minutes. The rides are free and will start and end at your pick-up spot.
Uber warns, “Demand will be high. If no UberPITCH vehicles are available, please try again.”
Participating investors include TV Dragon Michele Romanow in Toronto, Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes in Vancouver, BDC IT Venture Fund’s Ron Warburton in Ottawa, Brightspark’s Sophie Forest in Montreal, ex-TV Dragon W. Brett Wilson in Calgary, and Sunil Sharma of Extreme Venture Partners in Kitchener-Waterloo.
Like Uber drivers, none of the investors participating in UberPitch are technically employees of the ride-sharing company, but are instead independent contractors working for themselves.
Uber’s legal status in all of these cities lies somewhere between grey market and under-the-table.
In Vancouver, the company has ruled out an attempted return until a legal framework can be ironed out at the provincial level.
In Calgary and Edmonton, both city councils have okayed Uber for business, but Uber refuses to operate because conditions aren’t to their liking, with Uber Alberta spokesman Ramit Kar saying that the company “just can’t operate” under Calgary’s bylaw as written.
Public input meetings will be held in the Kitchener-Waterloo region between March 29 and April 5, with a vote set for June.
Ottawa’s mayor has thrown his support behind a plan to legalize Uber, the details of which are still to be negotiated.
Montreal city council remains hostile to the service, although it operates without any apparent legal repercussions despite Mayor Coderre’s request for Uber to “pause” operations while a legal framework is hammered out.
Last New Year’s Eve, several noobie Montreal Uber riders suffered a case of sticker shock on discovering the charms of surge pricing on their credit card statements, mainly in the $80-$90 range for a ride that would have cost $10-$15 in a taxi, with another first-time rider stuck with a $325 bill and another charged $625 for a 40-minute ride.
In Toronto, city council is expected develop a regulatory framework encompassing both taxis and ride-sharing services such as Uber sometime in April, with Mayor John Tory aiming to “level the playing field” between taxis and taxi-like platforms.
Toronto promo code PITCHTO
Kitchener-Waterloo promo code PITCHKW
Ottawa promo code PITCHOTT
Montreal promo code PITCHMTL
Calgary promo code PITCHYYC
Vancouver promo code PITCHYVR