The Business Year

Alan Rosell


Juan Pablo Restrepo

General Manager Panama, Uber

Providing better alternatives for companies and consumers, dedicated apps promise to revolutionize services moving forward.

How does your app benefit your customers?

Alan Rosell We offer a tailor-made service that does not involve contracts; our app is a distribution service for trucks but without long contracts. Customers are free to decide when they need someone professional who can provide a great service; this is the first benefit for the market. On top of this, many companies do not want to purchase a truck. Our prices are within the price range of the market; we are 10% higher than the market price and for this slightly higher price we provide a much greater service. Large companies are also able to meet urgent requests when they do not have trucks or drivers available so SMARTRANS is a great solution for larger companies as well. Our app has been extremely well received; the public acknowledges it is a great product and idea, while entrepreneurs are impressed with the product and the solution it provides.

Juan Pablo Restrepo Uber has been a strong player in Latin America by revolutionizing the concept of mobility. It has been amazing to see how Uber has been accepted in all the countries and cities we have expanded into, from Brazil to Colombia. We are now in more than 20 cities. We were initially focused on Santiago in Chile and are now focusing on expanding our presence not only in the capitals but also in secondary cities: we have launched an aggressive expansion plan in Central America, delivering this reliable transportation for everyone in the world. In the last three months of 2016, nearly 200,000 people used Uber in Panama. If we compare that to the population of the city, this is a high penetration rate. We are keeping our promise; we are committed to delivering a quality service and making it available to everyone. We are expanding our service to more people and communities and are reaching different neighborhoods and areas such as the west side of the city. What we really want to do is help the city and country become connected.

What strategic partnerships and alliances are you establishing in Panama?

AR In October 2016, my partner and I decided to invite the same partners of Truckslogic and presented the product to them. Everyone wanted to be a part of this, and we quickly received funding. We are doing well with those partners. We have to position and prove ourselves in Panama and understand how to win the market. When we have the trust here, that will be when we enter another country and seek other partners. The moment we need more money is the moment that we will enter a new country. When we created our product we put it in a niche, a cluster in B2B. We have to do it for B2C as we have the platform and understand the work; this is the moment we have to go to the consumer.

JPR We are working with COPA to manage a certain amount of activities that promote new destinations through our app. We also partnered with the team of COPA and allow our riders to earn miles through trips. We have formed partnerships with different banks, and there is definitely more opportunity for people to use the platform and get joint benefits for credit or debit cardholders. Our partnership with Banco General is another interesting thing we have done in that regard. We have several ideas in the pipeline for campaigns with insurance companies like ASSA. We have partnered with a large number of people because Uber taps into every single need that people have.

What are your targets, priorities, and ambitions for 2017?

AR We will change the way the sector does business. One example is inverse logistics, where 80% of trucks come back without cargo and this is one opportunity to improve the sector. Also, we have a product that responds in real time and also tracks the roads, bringing many benefits that will change the sector. Our platform will change the ways we work not only in Panama but in other countries. This is our objective and the sector gives us the opportunity to understand that we are here to help our clients.

JPR My wish list is to complete the mission of delivering transportation to everyone everywhere. We would like to increase the amount of daily users and convert the occasional riders to far more regular ones. There is an instilled car ownership culture in Panama for three reasons: it wasn’t expensive, the city was designed for cars, and people want to own them. We are encouraging people to think twice before deciding to use a private car.



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