Uber, the ride-sharing-private car service where all you have to do is tap a button to get a lift, is available in 53 countries. But Uber has taken a very bumpy ride on its way to an astronomical valuation. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reported this story.
Uber now valued at more than $41 billionUber, the ride-sharing-private car service where all you have to do is tap a button to get a lift, is available in 53 countries. But Uber has taken a very bumpy ride on its way to an astronomical valuation. CCTV America’s Mark Niu reported this story.
Uber has been dealing with ongoing public relations fiascos.
A 6-year-old girl was hit and killed by an Uber-contracted driver. Details of poaching emerged on the website Operation SLOG, a driver recruitment marketing program. Competitors accused Uber of secretly poaching drivers and using its own employees to cancel thousands of competitor’s rides.
In September, co-founder Travis Kalanick addressed Uber’s reputation as the bad guy.
“When you get to a place where people perceive you as the big guy or the man, you approach things differently and you have to communicate differently and we’re not there yet,” Kalanick said.
Uber hired former Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe to be its senior vice president of policy and strategy. But since then, Uber has only become even more controversial. Reporters accused the company of intimidation and tracking them through Uber. Then rape allegations against Uber-contracted drivers surfaced in both Boston and New Delhi.
Despite the controversies, the company recently disclosed a valuation of more than $41 billion. And while the company already operates in China, it’ll get some added firepower with Chinese-Internet giant Baidu reportedly investing $600 million.
Yang said Baidu will be a big help to Uber especially with its mapping services. He also said the global taxi industry has always had safety issues, but what’s different is that government agencies shared responsibility, while nowadays, it appears to be Uber bearing the responsibility of regulating Uber.
On June 6, 2014, Uber announced a latest round of funding worth $1.2 billion. The round valued Uber at around $17 billion pre-money, according to Businessweek.com.
As of August 2014, the company had raised $1.5 billion in venture capital, according to The Verge.
The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 5 that Uber had raised $1.2 billion from a number of investors, including sovereign wealth fund Qatar Investment Authority, New Enterprise Associates, and hedge funds Valiant Capital Partners and Lone Pine Capital. The successful investors, the names of which Uber did not disclose, participated in a competitive bidding process that lasted several weeks, and their investments meant that Uber was worth $41 billion.
On Dec. 12, TechCrunch reported that the Chinese search engine Baidu, the mainland’s largest, was expected to make a significant investment in Uber. On Dec. 17, following a Beijing meeting involving Kalanick and Baidu chief executive and chairman Robin Lee, Uber made a commitment to connect the search engine’s map and mobile-search features with its app. At the time of the arrangement, Uber existed in eight Chinese mainland cities.
Source: Inc. Magazine
Uber faces multiple legal and regulatory challenges as it expands in the United States and elsewhere.
On Tuesday Jan.13, a New Delhi court charged an Uber cab driver with rape, kidnapping, and criminal intimidation in a case that has renewed a national fury over chronic sexual violence in India. Authorities are still investigating whether Uber should also be charged.
TechCrunch reported cab drivers in Paris attacked an Uber driver’s car near Charles de Gaulle Airport, protesting competition from the transportation startup in June 2014. After that, in a concerted action, taxis blocked roads in major European cities in protest against what they perceived as a threat to their livelihoods by companies like Uber. The cabbies contended that Uber and similar smartphone app-based services have an unfair advantage because they are not subject to the same kinds of fees and regulations placed on taxis.
- Sabotage against competitors
Uber’s big competitor Lyft reported to CNN Money that 177 Uber employees had ordered and cancelled approximately 5,560 rides since October 2013. The CNN Money report identified one Lyft passenger who canceled 300 rides from May 26 to June 10, 2014, and was identified as an Uber recruiter by seven different Lyft drivers.
- Threatening journalists
At a private dinner in November 2014, Emil Michael, senior vice president of Uber, suggested that Uber hire a team of opposition researchers and journalists, with a million-dollar budget, to dig into the personal lives and backgrounds of media figures who reported negatively about Uber. But later on, Michael and Uber’s CEO apologized for that, according to Buzzfeed.
Ari Zoldan of Quantum Networks discusses possibility of an Uber IPO
Uber now operates in 200 cities in 53 countries and has faced problems around the world including regulatory and legal hurdles, protests, and lawsuits. CCTV America’s Michelle Makori interviewed Ari Zoldan, CEO of telecom company Quantum Networks, about the possibility of seeing a $40 billion Uber IPO while many issues remain unsettled.