Uber, the transportation and ride-sharing startup, has just announced that it has raised another $1.2 billion in funding, and we have separately confirmed with the company that this latest round was made at a $40 billion valuation.
For now Uber is not revealing the investors but names that have been floated include Sequoia, TPG, Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Menlo Ventures. We’re trying to nail down a more concrete list.
What’s crazy is that $1.2 billion may not be the end of the round. CEO Travis Kalanick writes that it includes “additional capacity remaining for strategic investments.” VCExperts uncovered a recent filing in Delaware that detailed the potential final size of that round to be as high as $1.8 billion.
If you’d like a clue as to where those extra strategic backers might come from, look East. “This financing will allow Uber to make substantial investments, particularly in the Asia Pacific region,” he continues. Asia could also be a clue to who has already invested in the $1.2 billion round.
The news comes at a key time for the company. While there have been numerous reports around for a while of Uber raising more money at around a $40 billion valuation, the startup has been under fire for a lot of its business practices both from regulators and other observers who have criticised the company’s ethics.
The Uber criticism reached a tipping point just before Thanksgiving, when BuzzFeed broke a one-two punch of news: first, that one of its top executives (who is still employed by the company) was flippantly describing plans to do opposition research on journalists critical of the company; second, that the company was regularly using its “God View” to track people on its riding network.
Kalanick recognised that, too, and pledged to make things right.
“This kind of growth has also come with significant growing pains. 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. We are collaborating across the company and seeking counsel from those who have gone through similar challenges to allow us to refine and change where needed.”
The decision to use the funding to expand Uber in Asia is not a sudden move. The company needs capital to keep up with its aggressive pricing and marketing tactics, which it has been running in the region for months to build up its market share against incumbent players. Those rivals have been also capitalizing at a rapid pace. They include GrabTaxi yesterday announcing a $250 million raise, and India’s Ola raising $210 million — with Softbank participating in both of those rounds.
As we wrote at the time of its latest promotion in India, it’s no surprise that Uber was raising more money: giving everyone in a country the size of India the equivalent of five free rides on its service doesn’t come free.
Regardless of where you fall on the Great Uber Debate — is it a greedy and rapacious monster expanding at all costs? is it an amazing and disruptive and much-needed shot in the arm of how we get ourselves and other stuff from A to B? — you cannot deny that the company has seen stunning growth.
A year ago, Kalanick notes, Uber was in 60 cities and 21 countries. “Today we are in over 250 cities in 50 countries,” he notes. ” We are 6 times bigger today than 12 months ago,” with that growth accelerating.
Uber has now raised $2.7 billion in funding, with a very long list of investors that includes Menlo Ventures, Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Summit Partners, BlackRock, Wellington Management, Benchmark, TPG Growth, Troy Carter, Jeff Bezos, CrunchFund, Goldman Sachs and a whole lot more.