The ride-sharing service company Uber has quickly become one of the most explosive start-ups the business world has seen in years. Founded five years ago by Travis Kalanick, Uber, in its infant stages, was just an app that allowed customers to request a private car with a simple push of a smartphone button. Today, Uber has made an epic ascent with investors valuing the company at a startling $40 billion.
According to CNBC, the start-up recently received $1.2 billion in financing, on top of the already impressive $1.5 billion it raised in the past year. And the company is showing no signs of slowing down. With its goal to become the world’s private driving service, Uber also intends to sell a staggering $600 million in stock and is working with Goldman Sachs to sell another $1 billion in debt to some of the firm’s most affluent and exclusive clientele.
In just five years, Uber has experienced growth that many start-ups only dream of. Currently, the company has surpassed members of Silicon Valley’s 11-digit-club: start-ups whose estimated values are in excess of $10 billion. With Uber chiming in at four times that, and considered to be six times as large as it was one year ago, investors are hoping to launch Uber into the next stratosphere of financial success: public offering – following the likes of Facebook and international e-commerce companies.
While Uber’s $40 billion dollar valuation and luxe investment backing is enough reason to celebrate, founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp already have their sights set on improving upon Uber’s reach and appeal. In a plan to become the world’s leading logistics service, the company also expressed interest in being the premier place for delivering anything, anytime, anywhere, even groceries, which would put Uber in fierce competition with companies like Amazon, eBay, and even Google, all of which offer similar delivery services.
In a blog post by Kalanick, Uber’s chief executive, the aspiring game changer expressed: “Millions of people may decide that they no longer need to own a car because using Uber will be cheaper than owning one.”
Although Uber is by far the most impressive ride-sharing start-up, with locations in more than 250 cities in 50 countries, a sizable expansion that took place in the last year, it certainly isn’t the first company to offer such a service. Besides well established taxi and limousine services, Uber is up against another popular car-ride competitor, Lyft, who also has big investors and a desire to conquer major metropolitan areas like New York City and San Francisco.
Uber will also have to appeal to customers familiar with apps like Hailo and GrabTaxi, which function similarly to the company’s otherwise modern and sleeker version.
With that being said, revolutionizing the transportation industry and reshaping the way the world travels is no easy task. The start-up has experienced a slew of public privacy scandals, ethics slander and lawsuits. Despite this, Uber’s founders, employees, and investors remain optimistic. In a blog post, Uber’s chief executive, Kalanick, pledged to work on the company’s issues, stating “The events of the recent weeks have shown us that we also need to invest in internal growth and change…acknowledging mistakes and learning from them are the first steps.”