Uber, the big gorilla in the car-service startup space, is reportedly in talks to raise $1 billion to fuel the company’s rapid international expansion — and fund its ongoing heated rivalry with regulators and taxi companies.
San Francisco-based Uber is talking to existing and new investors to raise $1 billion, a sum that would catapult the company’s already-stratospheric valuation, as Bloomberg and the Financial Times have reported. The company already raised $1.2 billion this year from venture capitalists and big financial institutions that include BlackRock, Wellington and Fidelity, making for the largest-ever fundraising deal for a venture-capital-backed company. It was that round, in June, that valued Uber at $18.2 billion, making it the highest-valued VC-backed company, followed by Airbnb’s $10 billion valuation.
Bill Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital and Uber board member, recently told CNBC: “It’s the fastest-growing company we’ve ever been involved with. That’s why, when the company was, you know, put in front of a large number of investors, that you ended up with the valuation that it did.”
Uber, which has battled regulators and taxi incumbents since its founding in 2009, has earned the reputation as a bullish startup led by tough-talking CEO Travis Kalanick, aggressively pursuing international markets as it works to expand its app-based car service. It has also engaged in a fierce battle with Lyft, the other dominant car-service app, which has played out in the media and courts. Lyft raised $250 million earlier this year, another unusually large round.
In August, Uber hired David Plouffe, President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager and political operative, to be senior vice president of policy and strategy and to lead policy and political activities.