If there was ever any question who is the “top dog” in the ridesharing transportation industry, then there sure isn’t anymore.
San Francisco-based Uber announced today that it raised $1.2 billion based on a $40 billion valuation of the company. That $1.2 billion, by the way, is a minimum. CEO Travis Kalanick said that there was still “additional capacity remaining” in the round. All total, the ridesharing technology company has raised $2.7 billion, according to CrunchBase, crowdsourced record of funding data.
Uber will use the serious cash influx to invest heavily in the Asia Pacific region, according to a blog post from Kalanick.
Already, Uber’s growth has been meteoric. One year ago, the taxi-alternative company was operating in 60 cities and 21 countries. Today, you can hail a car with your smartphone in more than 250 cities in 50 countries. The company has multiplied six-fold in the past year. That’s the kind of growth that investors dream about.
Uber’s slingshot success hasn’t been without some pretty epic blunders, though. And in the past few weeks, the company’s reputation as a ruthless, power-hungry, ambitious-above-all-else business has been marred with signs of malice.
In particular, one Uber executive was outed for positing that the company ought to start investigating the personal life of journalists who were saying less than complimentary things about the company. And another recent report indicated that Uber executives were using the geolocation technology inherent in their app to track the location of one particular reporter without her consent.
And so, perhaps even more impressive than Uber’s eye-popping billion dollar raise, is it’s first indication of remorse.
“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,” says Kalanick.
Uber is working with outside council to improve its crisis of image, Kalanick says. “Done right, it will lead to a smarter and more humble company that sets new standards in data privacy, gives back more to the cities we serve and defines and refines our company culture effectively.” Humble is not a word that has thus far been a part of the Uber vocabulary.
Whether or not the top dog used to doing business by flashing its billion-dollar teeth can learn to be aggressive without forfeiting its integrity remains to be seen.