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June 2014 Uber Valuation: $17 Billion

Uber Sets Valuation Record of 17 Billion in New Funding Bloomberg

Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer at Uber Technologies Inc.

The San Francisco-based transportation service, which lets people order private town cars and other vehicles from their smartphone, has raised $1.2 billion in a new financing led by Fidelity Investments. The funding positions the company at the front of a pack of Internet startups, at a pre-money valuation of about $17 billion, up from $3.5 billion in a financing last year.


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I no longer look at Uber as an alternative to taxis and rental cars.

I now see Uber as a company creating a bunch of driver jobs around the world.

First jobs for some, second jobs for many.

"I’ve never personally sold a share of Uber...a few others [have], but not employees. Not even former employees."

Also in that WSJ piece:

Mr. Kalanick: We’re at least doubling every six months. It’s probably more robust than that, but that’s good enough…That’s revenue. If you look at [the number of] trips, because we’re going into lower and lower-cost products, the growth on trips is like 5, 6x.

What is the Uber market opportunity?

WSJ: Beyond the car service, you have started to talk about the logistics opportunity. When you say you want to be a broader logistics business, what does that exactly mean, what are you targeting?

Mr. Kalanick: First, we didn’t pitch the logistics business in this fundraising. We are experimenting in logistics but it’s at the experimentation level. Uber Rush is a month and a half, two months old, it’s super early. Look, it took us a year before we went from our home city to our second city. You got to work the product, get the operations down, processes, technology, etc. We’re very bullish but that was not part of the pitch for this fundraise…If the logistics business works out, that’s icing on the cake.

WSJ: Let’s define the market. There’s very little information right now about the size of the car service market. One report characterized the U.S. market size at $11 billion in revenue, but Uber is obviously global. How do you measure the size of the market?

Mr. Kalanick: When we got this company started (in 2009) we were pitching the seed round and we pulled a bunch of research from this report that showed that San Francisco total spend on taxi and limo was like 120 million bucks. But we’re a very healthy multiple bigger than that right now, just Uber in SF. So it’s not about the market that exists, it’s about the market we’re creating. So what is that vision?… It’s a reflection of our mission to turn ground transportation into a seamless service. Basically make car ownership a thing of the past…If you just looked at San Francisco, the ground transportation market in just San Francisco — where people pay to get in a car and go somewhere, whether they own the car or otherwise — is $22 billion. No wonder we’re several hundred million in size just in SF, and growing faster this year than last year.

WSJ: How big of a risk factor is Uber’s regulatory challenge? It seems like Uber is constantly fighting with regulators?

Mr. Kalanick: We’ve now launched in 130 cities, and there’s only one product in one city that we ever backed out of: Vancouver…There are flare-ups, the taxi industry will put pressure on a city government to stifle competition and then that’s when Nairi [an Uber spokeswomen] and I are up late…In the win column we have 130 and in the loss column we have one. So yes, these are battles but we we’ve lost one battle out of many.

WSJ: What are your growth plans this year, now that you have all this additional capital?

Mr. Kalanick: We just passed the 1,000 employee mark. If we are doubling every six months on the revenue side, you want to grow slightly slower than that on the operations and business side…The things that make the headlines are not really the core of the business. The core of the business is engineering and product and operations which are in the cities making this a reality. That’s a vast majority of the business.

I love this:

WSJ: Do you have IPO plans?

Mr. Kalanick: No.

WSJ: Ever?

Mr. Kalanick: I’m just ultra-focused on the business.

WSJ: But what’s the timeline? In three years it could happen? Within two years?

Mr. Kalanick: I mean it’s all speculative. The point is that, we did this huge funding, there were no secondary shares. I’ve never personally sold a share of Uber.

WSJBut others have?Mr. Kalanick: There’s are a few others, but not employees… not even former employees.

WSJYou seem tired. I’ve never seen you this mellow and tired…

Mr. Kalanick: There’s two things. First, check this room out. (Mr. Kalanick gestures around the room, which is open, and in the middle of Uber’s new office. The ceiling is overlaid with a thick felt material.) It’s totally felted out, right, and so what it does, is like even though it’s totally open, it feels like we can have this crazy conversation right here, which is awesome. But second is I’m getting over a pretty hard cold.

WSJRaising money is tough.

Mr. Kalanick: No, that’s not what it is, I just got a frickin’ cold.

WSJBut really — did you expect the valuation to get this high?

Mr. Kalanick: When it comes to a process, I don’t get attached to a number. I get attached to a process and I will always make sure that we get the right number.

THIS is fantastic - 4 years in and just getting started:

It's good for the environment, reduces DUIs, and adds 20,000 jobs per month in 129 cities around the world:

It’s remarkable that it was only four years ago this week Uber started operations in SF, connecting residents with the safest, most reliable way to get around the city. Today, we are operating in 128 cities in 37 countries around the world with hundreds of thousands of transportation providers and millions of consumers connecting to our platform.

Uber is changing the fabric of these cities. At our current rate, Uber is responsible for directly creating 20,000 new jobs per month and powering billions in economic impact in cities around the world – while also improving the environment, reducing DUI rates and fueling urban economic development.

GET OVER YOURSELF, ASSHAT. You're deliberately breaking a lot of laws -- most of which were enacted because of the problems caused by scofflaws like you -- to enrich yourself and your cronies, so don't try to convince me that you're the reincarnation of Saint Francis with a smartphone. And maybe wait to get high until AFTER the interview, like a professional.

Oooh, I think he struck a nerve. :)

Does the room have a felt ceiling because cars have felt ceilings?

Good guess, but no. 

The room has felt ceiling to absorb the noise so people can have conversations despite no walls.

Oh. Really? My car doesn't have a felt ceiling.

Hertz is worth $13 billion. Uber is worth $18 billion. 

And AT&T will include Uber on every Android phone they sell.

From what I see on a quick search, über sends 1099s to drivers only if they make 20k or 200 rides.  

Every driver should get a 1099 

Also another quick search of liability shows the big problem has happened. 

You only work under Über insurance when you have a fare.  Between fares you are on yours. A driver killed a girl between fares and no one accepts liability. 

Yes it is disruptive, so is bank robbery and large scale tax evasion. 

Yeah, there's an uneasy feeling among some people that what Uber's doing is not right.

You just tapped into that feeling.

Perhaps it's the limited liability Uber takes that gives people that feeling.

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