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Uber partners with SocietyOne to deliver car loans to its drivers

Uber partners with SocietyOne to deliver car loans to its drivers

Sharing economy behemoth Uber is partnering with Australia’s leading peer-to-peer lender SocietyOne to provide existing and potential drivers with loans to buy new cars, as the car-booking company looks to ramp up its workforce to put further pressure on the taxi industry.

The deal will provide SocietyOne, which is backed by media moguls James Packer, Lachlan Murdoch and Ryan Stokes, with access to a potentially high-growth market for lending – Uber drivers – and shows how nimble, fintech start-ups can win niche business in the digital economy from incumbent banks.

David Rohrsheim, CEO Uber Australia, and SocietyOne CEO Matt Symons outside Uber’s offices in Sydney.

In the past 18 months, the number of drivers on the UberX platform in Australia has gone from zero to 20,000. Uber Australia’s CEO David Rohrsheim says the partnership with SocietyOne “will help grow the business faster, there is no doubt about it”.

The deal could herald a new era of car ownership, where drivers could work casually for Uber to pay for a new vehicle, Mr Rohrsheim suggested. “You have SocietyOne coming in to the market saying if you drive one night a week and cover all your payments through Uber, you can now own a car.”

As the Turnbull government prepares to release its innovation statement on Monday, SocietyOne chief executive Matt Symons said the Uber deal is a concrete example of a local start-up forging a relationship with one of the biggest global tech players.