GeekWire Podcast: Uber-Grubhub deal connections; mobility service woes; Surface Earbuds review

Here’s what we’re talking about this week on the GeekWire Podcast.

Word leaked out this week that Uber is considering buying food-delivery service Grubhub, and it turns out there are many Seattle connections behind the possible deal, including links to Expedia and several other companies.

Food delivery is a tough market to make a buck in, for companies and their drivers, so what’s in the deal for Uber?

  • Uber Eats is #2 and Grubhub is #3 in food delivery services, behind leader DoorDash. DoorDash grew its market share 42% in March while Grubhub stayed flat. Uber Eats grew 20% (it has a Starbucks contract).
  • Seattle connections: Brian McAndrews, Grubhub board chair, is the former CEO of aQuantive and also served as a managing director at Seattle venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group. Zillow Group co-founder Lloyd Frink is also on Grubhub’s board. Frink had executive roles at Expedia where Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi cut his teeth.
  • Australian hedge fund Caledonia Investments owns 16% of Grubhub and has large ownership in Zillow.

Thousands of Jump ride-share bicycles vanished from Seattle streets recently in the latest shakeup in the troubled mobility service field. The pandemic isn’t making it easy for bike- and scooter-share companies. Will their rides return to Seattle once the pandemic is over?

  • Not sure when they’ll be back but industry will look very different on other side of COVID-19 crisis: Industry will become more consolidated. Not clear if demand will return to pre-pandemic levels. Micro-mobility companies will focus on profitability.
  • There were more than 2.2 million bike-share rides in Seattle last year, averaging more than 6,000 per day, according to the Seattle Department of Transportation.
  • Last week, Uber invested $170 million in Lyme and said it would hand its bike-share program off to Lyme.
  • Before the pandemic, Uber, Lyft, Lime, Spin, Bird, Ojo, and a handful of other companies were interested in launching electric scooter services in Seattle and elsewhere but now those plans are in limbo.

Amazon unveiled a virus-zapping robot on “60 Minutes” last Sunday, but it’s possible they were just trying to distract from the rest of the report, which focused on working conditions in the company’s warehouses during the pandemic.

We get our first look at Microsoft’s new $199 Surface Earbuds and their appearance provokes some interesting reactions. Did someone say “Frankenstein’s bolts?” Plus, we raise a toast to Seattle allowing restaurants to sell takeout cocktails during the pandemic.

Listen above, and subscribe in any podcast app.

With GeekWire’s Todd Bishop, Monica Nickelsburg, Taylor Soper and John Cook. Produced by Curt Milton. Theme music by Daniel L.K. Caldwell.

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