Uber to launch courier service in Manhattan

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 Mon Apr 7, 2014 6:36pm EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, April 7 (Reuters) - App-based car ride company Uber will deliver a new business line on Tuesday when it launches a trial courier service in Manhattan.

"Better, faster, cheaper," is how Uber's general manager in New York, Josh Mohrer, described the service in a tweet to Reuters. Customers will be able to watch the progress of their packages in its transportation application, much as they can track the progress of the cars they order up on the service.

Uber has long held ambitions beyond rides, with chief executive, Travis Kalanick, saying publicly that he thinks of his business as an urban logistics service. But beyond publicity stunts involving delivery of items such as kittens, ice cream and Christmas trees, Uber has yet to provide anything beyond rides.

Uber's outsized goals are part of the reason that investors have poured around $400 million into the company, valuing it at $3.5 billion. With a service that stitches together the buzziest categories in entrepreneurship such as mapping, smartphones and local services, Uber is widely seen as one of the hottest properties in Silicon Valley.

Currently, Uber operates in dozens of cities around the world, ranging from its hometown of San Francisco to Berlin and Tokyo.

VentureBeat was first to report the news of the courier service.

Details on the service will be coming later Monday in a blog post, Mohrer said in a Twitter message.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; editing by Andrew Hay)

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