A quarter of billion dollars in a startup! Google had never invested this much of fund through Ventures in any startup till now, but in the case of Uber, Google Ventures has crossed its own limits to fund the startup. The well-known and discussed Uber App that has upset the world of mobility in the car-hire service. Therefore, American taxi drivers are at war with this startup. Analysts estimate the current value of Uber at $3.5 billion.
The story of Uber is quite famous. The founder, Travis Kalanik had thought of an application for smartphones that would put private drivers in the network. In which people will pay a premium for a more efficient and personalized transportation service. Within a few years, Uber has changed the rules, even affected the taxi services. Although, formally it was a different service and accepted less or more by cities for years, but lastly, Uber has transformed how the car-hire services works in the cities, let’s face it, in the smarter cities.
While, the turning point is the growing pressure from established taxi and limo industries and it is also sparking new controversies in many countries, including the United States. However, the rumor of this round of investment with exceptional proportions shows how this society is far from being difficult market to a smarter one, and perhaps lobbies and governments should think about how to integrate the innovations brought by Information Technology instead of hindering them.
Uber began with the iPhone, but there is also an app for Android
David Drummond has led the investment by Google Ventures in this startup whose revenue growth is 18 percent every month, now has about 320 employees, able to conquer 35 cities in 14 countries, winning the taxi service in New York. The reason is easy to guess: Uber relies entirely on smartphones, which integrates the functionalities of maps, time of travel, the booking service and its payment. Starting out with the iPhone, the app is now available at Google Play (updated yesterday), and the big G could prevent the app for iPhone or its future services.
Undoubtedly, 2013 is the year of on-demand car services. Lyft, a competitor of Uber, has collected 60 million dollars, while the Hailo has convinced Virgin’s Richard Branson to write out a check of 50 million. However, the scale of investment for Uber is more important, “so much so” some have even started to imagine a forthcoming IPO.
In addition to $258 million by Google Ventures, we must also consider the investment by TGP — a large private equity firm, which is nearly $90 million. A year and a half ago, Uber also collected $37 million from investors such as Menlo Ventures, Benchmark Capital and Goldman Sachs. Thus, Uber raised an additional $125 million in the following months and doesn’t seem to stop any more.