Its service is still growing, and it faces legal challenges from taxi companies. But Uber, the company whose app pairs drivers with passengers, was a hit it big in a financing round, bringing in investments of $1.2 billion and sending its valuation skyward.
Four years after it began operations, San Francisco-based Uber is now valued at $17 billion, based on figures the company's CEO, Travis Kalanick, released today.
Uber is creating 20,000 jobs a month, Kalanick said, and it's operating in 128 cities in 37 countries.
As for the money raised, the figures are "jaw-dropping," says Venture Beat.
Bloomberg News puts it into perspective:
"Uber's new valuation is a record for technology startups in a direct investment round, said Anand Sanwal, CEO of research firm CB Insights. At $17 billion, Uber is worth more than public companies including car-rental service Hertz Global Holdings Inc. and retailer Best Buy Co. Startups such as cloud-sharing company Dropbox Inc. and short-term rental service Airbnb Inc. have recently raised money at $10 billion valuations."
As we've reported before, Uber and similar firms such as Lyft have been challenged in cities that include Seattle, where critics say they're both less regulated and less taxed than their competitors in traditional cab and limousine companies.
Just yesterday, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber and Lyft. The companies said they were surprised by the move — and they added that they would keep operating in the state.