Where The Hottest IPO Of 2019 Went Wrong

ISTANBUL, TURKEY - AUGUST 21 : An aerial view of roads as traffic eased off after citizens left the city on the first day of Eid Al Adha (Feast of Sacrifice) in Istanbul, Turkey on August 21, 2018. Muhammed Enes Yildirim / Anadolu Agency

By Cliff Johnson

High-tech mobility isn’t just about a ride. It’s about an experience, and the emerging poster-child in this space offers everything from a smooth, green ride and the most advanced technology to a tie-in to many things you need or want in life–that includes the best restaurants, fulfillment of your healthcare needs and even an exclusive line of merch co-branded by celebrities.

It’s the ride of a lifetime, and it’s not from Uber. Nor is it from Lyft. It’s from the hottest new startup to come out of Canada’s ‘Silicon Valley’–Facedrive (TSX.V:FD).

Ride-sharing may be one of the fastest growing trends on the planet, but consider this: Uber, the hottest IPO of 2019, is now losing more money than ever and its growth has slowed to record lows.

Ride-sharing 2.0 is an entirely different beast. It’s aiming both at turning a profit and giving the consumers what they want.

It’s all about monetization. If you can’t monetize it, then your $100 billion valuation dreams will never be realized.

Yes, Uber changed transportation and completely disrupted the taxi industry. It also opened up a Pandora’s Box of other issues, and in defiance, it took on regulators, making just as many enemies as friends along the way.

What it didn’t do is make money. The cash burn has been enormous, and a decade into it, Uber is still only just hoping to achieve profitability in the fourth quarter of 2020 – also a year in which it will lose more than $1 billion.

Along the way, it earned a reputation for being the “avatar” of everything that went wrong with tech.

That’s Uber.

Facedrive is the next generation of ride-sharing, and it’s where the narrative changes.

If Uber is the “avatar” of everything that went wrong, Facedrive aims to be the “avatar” of everything that’s about to go right: That means an entire ecosystem of revenue grounded on the rider relationship.

Ask Will Smith, whose Bel Air Athletics clothing brand is betting that Facedrive is the ride of the future. That’s why he’s co-branding an entire line of merch with Facedrive.

It’s also why WestBrook Inc., the company he shares with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, is partnering with this stunning startup that is about to expand internationally to start challenging Uber for the throne.

Even better: It’s green and in line with Facedrive principles. Not only is everything being made in North America, but the goal Bel-Air Athletics is working towards is that all materials are 100% sustainably sourced.

Why Ride-Sharing Isn’t Just About Transportation

Facedrive is a “people-and-planet first” ride-sharing platform – two things that have been desperately missing from ride-sharing 1.0.

It’s the first company to offer green transportation solutions in this space by giving riders a choice of EV, hybrid or conventional, and by planting thousands of trees to offset its emissions. It’s also the first company to consider its drivers as its partners.

And unlike Uber, it’s working on monetizing every aspect of its rider relationships.

In other words, ride-sharing will finally be sustainable, responsible and, if plans are realized, … profitable.

What everyone got wrong the first time around with the novel idea of ride-sharing is this: It’s not just a new transportation service – it’s a high-tech industry.

That means there are countless avenues for profitability beyond a simple ride.

Uber not only failed to make its core rides profitable, but it failed, too, with Uber Eats, which arose only as an afterthought.

Facedrive is working on monetizing every angle of this high-tech sharing experience right out of the blocks, from exclusive merch and Facedrive Foods to pharmaceutical deliveries and even long-distance car-pooling.

And it did it all without butting heads with regulators or making enemies out of local officials. Instead, it worked with them directly to ensure that every program on its platform was a benefit to the community at large.

In the process, it caught the eye of major celebrities, big commercial banks, and the authorities who appreciate its attempts to offset carbon emissions.

Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have thrown in with Facedrive and mutually benefitting partners through WestBrook Inc. And now, in Facedrive’s ongoing efforts to rapidly monetize its ride-sharing platform well beyond the rides, they’re launching an exclusive line of clothing branded by Will Smith’s Bel Air collection and Facedrive.

Some 1,000 new products co-branded by Bel Air and Facedrive are ready to launch, with pre-orders coming soon on the Facedrive website.  

The company is also rolling out a comprehensive health initiative, timed for rapid deployment to the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic. Facedrive Healthcare includes everything from discounted rides for healthcare workers and specialized vehicles for anyone with additional needs to contactless delivery of essential over-the-counter medicines and medical supplies, including high-tech management of automatic refills.

Facedrive Foods, which is now piloting across GTA and London,  Ontario and will expand to other regions soon.

And the monetization of ride-sharing 2.0 will also get another boost amid the widely emerging trend of sustainable or impact investing, also known as ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing.

Every single monetization plan deployed by Facedrive is planned to be sustainable and eco-friendly, which means all of its partners share the same “people and planet first” principles. Facedrive Foods even contributes to planting trees while it makes deliveries.

Facedrive is betting that’s a more significant aspect of profitability than you would think. It’s also where Uber failed miserably. Today’s big money is navigating toward risk mitigation, and it has nothing to do with the pressure from the right or the left. It’s pure market sentiment.

Big capital is on the greedy hunt for innovative new companies that have latched on to the $30-trillion-plus mega trend of sustainable investing, which has outperformed the overall market.

“Increasingly companies will only survive and thrive if they operate with a nod from the wider court of public approval. It has underscored the complexity and interconnectedness of our world in terms of demand and supply, in trade and commerce – and how these can be under threat if not sustainable,” notes Nigel Green, CEO of the deVere Group financial advisory.

Ride-Share 2.0 Is Already Here

There’s a laundry list of things that went wrong with the first-generation of ride-sharing, even if giants like Uber and Lyft managed to burn tons of cash to pave the way for what comes next.

All of those things have to do with sustainability and responsibility. And all of them, for connected reasons, have to do with the failure to fully monetize.

They’ve sidelined rather than worked in coordination with public transportation, causing big problems for cities, instead of seeking to patch transportation gaps where they’re really needed.

Facedrive is monetizing ahead of the game precisely because they are needed. That’s also why they recently acquired HiRide, a unique tech platform for carpooling for a large but specific group – students and professionals traveling back and forth from university towns. That gave Facedrive the ammunition it needed to launch its cross-border expansion plans, with both first and last mile covered, as well as long-distance rides.

In the process of their urban infestation, Uber and Lyft have increased pollution.

A recent study by the Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that the average (U.S.) ride-hailing trip results in 69 percent more pollution than whatever transportation option it displaced.

We are now witnessing the beginning of the end of Ride-Share 1.0. Sustainability, low cash burn and monetization are the drivers of the next generation, and Facedrive is so far the only one in the driver’s seat.

Most critically, that’s because its Canadian technology triangle gurus understand one very critical key to success: Approaching the ride-share industry as a tech transformation that has massive monetization potential because it’s all about relationships with riders.

Other companies transforming modern tech:

General Motors (NYSE:GM) has created its own brand of electric bikes, called Ariv. The bikes were just launched this year, but have already captured the attention of the European market.

While they err on the side of pricey, coming in at $3,800 per unit, they do boast a high top speed and can travel a modest distance on a single charge.

The kicker for many, however, is that they can fold into an easily carriable pack, making them the perfect choice for a lot of commuters. Especially in big cities like London or Berlin.

Ford (NYSE:F) is taking a different approach. It’s swooped right into the scooter market, buying Spin for a clean $100 million.

Initially deployed in San Francisco back in 2017, Spin is widely considered to be a part of the Big Three of the scooter world, along with Lime and Bird.

While Ford’s buyout of Spin made headlines, it’s certainly not the first urban transportation alternative Ford’s sunk its teeth into.

In recent years, Ford also bought commuter shuttle service Chariot, Autonomic and TransLoc, aiming to ensure that it does not miss the boat as this new movement accelerates.

Google’s parent company Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is a shining star in the tech world. First, and foremost, it has officially powered its data centers with 100% renewable energy over the last two years. A massive feat considering exactly how much data Google actually processes. Not only is Google powering its data centers with renewable energy, it is also on the cutting edge of innovation in the industry, investing in new technology and green solutions to build a more sustainable tomorrow.

Google is even entering the self-driving vehicle space, a move that, in combination with its green initiatives, could set it apart from the competition in the not-so-distant future.

BAIDU (NYSE:BIDU), for its part, is taking on the automated car market. With more miles under its belt than any of its competitors in Beijing, it’s an easy choice for a number of investors.

Likewise, it has an equally large portfolio of innovative new technology…at a lower entry point than its competitors.

As the ‘Chinese Google,’ Baidu is following a similar path to its American counterpart. It began as a search engine but is quickly expanding into almost all things tech related.

From artificial intelligence to television and finance, Baidu’s ever-expanding reach is a not to be ignored. Especially for investors looking to stay on top of the new tech trends.

Lyft (LYFT) was the first major ride-sharing company to go carbon neutral. “We get up every day thinking about how we can continue to have a positive impact on the communities we serve. As we grow, so does the opportunity to increase this impact” John Zimmer, the cofounder and president of Lyft, said on the subject.

Blackberry (BB) has played a major role in pushing “Canada’s Silicon Valley” into the future. Focused on innovation, Blackberry has been able to transform itself from a cell phone company into a technology giant. And thanks to its forward-thinking vision, it’s also one step ahead of its competition in cutting back its emissions.

Shopify Inc (TSX:SH) is a Canadian e-commerce company. More than 500,000 companies rely on Shopify’s real-time e-commerce, including Tesla, Budweiser and Red Bull, among many others. Shopify makes purchasing goods and services easy for anyone – and in a time where convenience is king, Shopify surely has staying power.

In addition to its revolutionary approach on e-commerce, Shopify is also delving into blockchain technology, making it a promising pick for investors, especially given that the sector is red hot right now.

BCE Inc. (TSX:BCE) is a Canadian giant. Founded in 1980, the company, formally The Bell Telephone Company of Canada is composed of three primary subsidiaries. Bell Wireless, Bell Wireline and Bell Media, however throughout its push into the position of one of Canada’s top telco groups, it has bought and sold a number of different firms.

BCE is also at the forefront of the Internet of Things movement in Canada. Its Machine to Machine solutions are being used by numerous businesses throughout North America and its new LTE-M network is sure to rapidly increase the adoption of these solutions.

Shaw Communications Inc (TSE:SJR.B): Shaw Communications, a giant in the Canadian telecoms sector, saw a drop in its share price following its disappointing forecasted earnings growth in 2017. In a sector that is set to see growth, undervalued and experienced companies such as this can make for a great hold play.

Shaw owns a ton of infrastructure throughout Canada and its cloud services and open-source projects look to address some of the biggest issues that its customers might face before the customers even face them.

With a market cap of $13.73 billion, Shaw Communications is going to be a big player in the sector for quite some time to come, and as it nears its 52-week low this could be a great time to pick up a telecoms giant.

Boralex Inc. (TSX:BLX) is one of Canada’s premier renewable energy firms. Not only has it helped kickstar the renewable boom domestically, it also has facilities in the United States, France and the United Kingdom. The company’s primary energies are produced through wind, hydroelectric, thermal and solar sources and help power the homes of many people across the world.

By. Cliff Johnson


Forward-Looking Statements

This publication contains forward-looking information which is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those projected in the forward-looking statements.  Forward looking statements in this publication include that the demand for ride sharing services will grow; that the demand for environmentally conscientious ride sharing services companies in particular will grow; that Facedrive’s marketplace will offer many more goods and services; that Facedrive can achieve its environmental goals without sacrificing profit; that Facedrive Foods will expand to other regions outside southern Ontario soon; that Facedrive plans to move to over 15 cities over the next 24 months; that Facedrive will be able to fund its capital requirements in the near term and long term; and that Facedrive will be able to carry out its business plan. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking information.  Risks that could change or prevent these statements from coming to fruition include changing governmental laws and policies; the company’s ability to obtain and retain necessary licensing in each geographical area in which it operates; the success of the company’s expansion activities and whether it justifies additional expansion; the ability of the company to attract a sufficient number of drivers to meet the demands of customer riders; the ability of the company to attract drivers who have electric vehicles and hybrid cars; the ability of Facedrive to attract providers of good and services for partnerships on terms acceptable to both parties, and on profitable terms for Facedrive; the ability of the company to keep operating costs and customer charges competitive with other ride-hailing companies; and the company’s ability to continue agreements on affordable terms with existing or new tree planting enterprises in order to retain profits. The forward-looking information contained herein is given as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise such information to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.


ADVERTISEMENT. This communication is not a recommendation to buy or sell securities. An affiliated company of  Oilprice.com, Advanced Media Solutions Ltd, and their owners, managers, employees, and assigns (collectively “the Company”) has signed an agreement to be paid in shares to provide services to expand ridership and attract drivers in certain jurisdictions outside Canada and the United States. In addition, the owner of Oilprice.com has acquired additional shares of Facedrive (TSX:FD.V) for personal investment. This compensation and share acquisition resulting in the beneficial owner of the Company having a major share position in FD.V is a major conflict with our ability to be unbiased, more specifically:

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