With increasing regularity, INVONTO is being approached by startups and companies to create UBER-like mobile applications to grow their business. Like UBER, these app ideas are typically centered on disrupting existing business models by enabling levels of convenience and mobility never before seen. Apps like these can seem deceptively simple to end-users, but let’s explore the realities of making an UBER-like app.

Disrupting an Industry:

There is no doubt that in a matter of a few years, UBER has achieved great success and valuation ($60+ Billion at the time of this post). They have, in a way, disrupted an industry where there was no innovation in many decades. Similar to how after seeing Facebook’s growth, many startups attempted their own version of Facebook, many startups are now chasing an “UBER” dream. In the past few months, we have spoken with several of such startups as well as limousine companies with inspired visions of dethroning UBER. Though, vision alone is not sufficient.

Many of the companies we’ve spoken to have budget between $5,000 to $20,000 for developing UBER-like app! They think that UBER is simply a taxi company that offers an app for booking rides. This, however, is not the reality. UBER is not a taxi company. UBER is a global technology company whose revenue model is based on offering convenience to their customers…the particular solution they are offering just happens to be disrupting the taxi / limo / car service industry. The big takeaway here is that while on the surface UBER might seem like a simple service, there are many different parts that are required for their platform to operate. And making an UBER like platform is not necessarily an easy and most certainly not a cheap endeavor.

The narrative below is a high-level solution explaining different parts involved in making an UBER-like technology platform:

Driver Database

You can’t book a cab if there is no driver to pick you up. One of the key component of an UBER platform is to manage a database of drivers that signup with UBER. This can include: having driver’s personal information, medical history, background check reports, driving history, payment preferences, payment history, and service history.

Ride Booking App

This is an app that consumers use for booking a ride. Besides booking a ride, users can also use the app for: viewing driver details, calculating ride cost, tracking pickup status, saving payment preferences, viewing payment history, canceling a ride, providing feedback, and more.

Driver App

When a rider send request for service, that request is sent to nearby UBER operators matching rider needs. One of the driver’s will accept rider request and will be assigned for the job. Driver can use the app for: mapping routes to rider’s pickup and destination locations, viewing rider contact details, withdrawing from the job, charging rider’s account upon drop-off, and more.

UBER Engine

When rider book a cab or when a driver accepts a job, all of the data travels through UBER engine (cloud-based back-end). This back-end is responsible for storing all customer data, customer requests, driver assignment, location tracking, payments and much more.

These are only the main functions of the UBER platform. There are several smaller parts for supporting main functions, including but not limited to, customer registration process, email notifications, push notifications, map integration, security, multi-language and culture support, management dashboard, marketing website etc. It requires a solid team of business analysts, user experience designers, software architects, software developers, QA testers, and product managers to build such technology. In addition, mobile applications have to be built at least for the iOS and Android platforms in order to target most of the mobile app users.

In a nutshell, what might look to many as a simple cab booking app is in fact a robust technology platform. And to replicate what UBER offers does not come cheap.

Interested in learning about what it can cost to make an app like UBER or want to get a free initial consultation on your own app idea? Drop us a note or give us a call today.

Maulik Shah
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