The popular app-based transportation company Uber just marked its fourth anniversary this week. And after its latest round of fundraising, Uber had a lot to celebrate.
Uber managed to raise $1.2 billion from investors by Friday, and the company's CEO Travis Kalanick expects to get an additional $200 million. That's all thanks to the company's incredible valuation — investors estimate Uber is worth a whopping $17 billion.
Add everything up, and Uber is now worth $18.2 billion dollars. As The Wall Street Journal points out, only Facebook managed to get a higher valuation from investors as a private company. Also, Uber is now worth about as much as competitors Hertz and Avis combined.
In a celebratory blog post, Kalanick credited the company's rapid growth for its incredible valuation. "The company has evolved from being a scrappy Silicon Valley tech startup to being a way of life for millions of people in cities around the world." (Via Uber)
And The Washington Post points out Uber's high value doesn't just reflect where the company is today, but where it could go in the future.
"Already, there are signs that Uber is evolving into a much more ambitious logistics company. Soon, it will be moving stuff, not just people. ... Uber could, in other words, become as central to mobility for many people as Facebook has become to communication."
But amidst all the Uber hype, there are quite a few skeptics who are critical of the company's high valuation. An Inc. writer notes several other tech companies which initially were highly valued have since tanked. "On Groupon's first day of trading in 2011, its valuation was $16.6 billion. By early 2013, it was valued at $3.8 billion."
And a writer for Slate points out Uber is poised to face some stiff competition in the tech-savvy transportation business. "What's to stop all the other car services out there from building their own slick smartphone apps and doing the same thing? And then, if customers demand it, adding a mustache?"
Uber's also got some regulatory headaches to deal with. Virginia's DMV just issued cease-and-desist notices to all ridesharing services, including Uber, for operating without state approval. (Via WJLA)
Uber estimates it is currently operating throughout 128 cities in 37 countries around the world.