Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said that he hasn’t spoken to investors in a year and half about raising capital, denying reports that the company is raising funding at a $1 billion valuation.
Reuters reported that story earlier today, citing one source. We had heard similar rumors over the past few weeks but they weren’t substantiated enough to report. That said, just because Kalanick isn’t speaking to investors about raising money, doesn’t mean that VCs or private equity firms aren’t courting him to take their money.
The company, which pioneered on-demand taxi and black cab rides directly from your mobile phone, has raised nearly $50 million to date. The most recent $37 million round was led by Menlo Ventures, which aggressively outbid other competitors on valuation to win the deal.
Bill Gurley, a general partner at Benchmark Capital, which came in on Uber’s Series A round, said the company is growing faster than eBay. Uber now lists about 30 different geographic locations around the world where it operates.
The company started out with black cabs, then went into environmentally friendly vehicles and then regular cabs. But now it’s making its headway into ride-sharing to compete head-to-head with startups like Zimride’s Lyft and Sidecar, which don’t have the same overhead costs and fees as Uber does. With its original black cab model, Uber partnered with third-party limo and taxi services to provide rides, while Sidecar and Lyft hire regular people with cars who want to earn extra income by driving passengers around.
All of these companies, along with Hailo in the U.K. and Europe, and even Chinese taxi apps like DiDi, tie into a global wave of disruption around urban transportation.
.@uber hasn’t spoken to a single investor about raising $ since Nov ’11. Any reports to the contrary (i.e. Reuters) are completely false
— travis kalanick (@travisk) April 30, 2013