Uber Rival 99 Embarks on Massive Brazilian Hiring Spree

Uber Rival 99 Embarks on Massive Brazilian Hiring Spree

Chamber Articles Category: Industry News Post Date: 08/11/17 Source: Bloomberg By: Paula Sambo and Christiana Sciaudone
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Brazil’s unemployment rate is near its record, but at the headquarters of ride-hailing app 99 it’s nowhere in evidence.

The country’s biggest taxi-beckoning tech company is outgrowing its Sao Paulo office after just 17 months as it seeks to quintuple its workforce in 2017 to 1,000 employees. Backed earlier this year by Didi Chuxing and Softbank, 99 is planning to expand into the rest of Latin America in the near future and is on the hunt for more capital -- executives were recently in San Francisco digging around.

Even with a hefty competitor in Uber, the company sees no end in sight to the potential.

"I can’t even predict how big the market in Brazil will be," said 99’s head of legal, policy and communication Matheus Moraes in an interview at the company’s Sao Paulo headquarters. "We try to forecast, but we just can’t."

The new additions to the staff will help 99 grow in a country with poor infrastructure and a meager public transportation backbone. Traffic in the biggest cities is intolerable, with trips sometimes taking five times longer than they should -- for example, it can take three hours to get to the international airport, a 22-mile drive from the financial district.

"Mobility is a problem in Brazil," Moraes said. "In Germany, for example, you don’t need a hailing service, It’s convenient, of course, but not problem solving. Brazil has indeed a problem to solve." Read Full Article