Uber's under-fire CEO Travis Kalanick pledged to make a big push in Europe in 2015, promising to create 50,000 jobs. However, the company behind the taxi-hailing app has had a pretty eventful 12 months.
On the positive side, the company went from operating in 60 cities in 21 countries to operating in 250 cities in 50 countries while being valued at over £25 billion.
On the negative side it saw constant regulatory battles around the world, was banned in India after a female passenger claimed she was raped by an Uber driver in New Delhi, and had to battle multiple reports of unethical behaviour within the company.
However, at the Digital Life Design (DLD) conference in Munich on Sunday (18 January), CEO Travis Kalanick was bullish about the future and said the company would expand rapidly in Europe this year, claiming that Uber would create 50,000 jobs on the continent while removing 400,000 cars from the road.
We want to make 2015 the year where we establish a new partnership with EU cities; where we promote core city functions through partnerships on data and technology; where we provide massive economic benefits to cities and their economies. By the end of 2015, if we can make these partnerships happen, we can create 50,000 new EU jobs. We want to take 400,00 cars off EU roads in 2015.
Kalanick said that Uber was growing exponentially and that beyond 2015 that growth is likely to be even bigger, with the company becoming a "big job generator".
While Kalanick spoke mostly about challenging the regulators and incumbents which are hindering Uber's growth and stifling the industry as a whole, he also addressed the issues of the alleged rape by one of its drivers in India:
The Next Web reports that Kalanick said: "A situation like that is pretty terrible. All of us have mothers, wives, daughters, sisters. I understand. We want to make sure that never happens. There are things we can do when we're on-boarding drivers. There are things we can do to make Uber the safest way to get around. We can play a role in making cities safer period... I obviously have a huge amount of empathy and just feel terrible about these situations."
Kalanick said the company could make better use of data mining techniques in order to vet drivers working for Uber.