Uber

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Responds to Critics Who Want IPO

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Responds to Critics Who Want IPO

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick

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Travis Kalanick, co-founder and CEO of ride-hailing service Uber, said Wednesday he's going to take as long as possible to go public -- responding to critics and stressing he's focused on product and innovation, not liquidity.

"We are 5-and-a-half-years old. And it's a little early in our lifecycle go there," Kalanick told CNBC's Squawk Box, referring to the IPO process. "We'll go there eventually. We have to find liquidity for ... [investors]."

Back in February, Union Square Ventures partner Fred Wilson was critical of Kalanick, saying: "He's wimping out. [Uber] should be a publicly traded company. ... You have a responsibility to give me my money back sometime."

Kalanick told CNBC that Wilson does not have money in Uber. "He passed on the Series B [funding round,] if I remember correctly. That was a $300 million valuation. Just putting that out there."

The Series B closed in January 2012. Since then, Uber's valuation has skyrocketed, currently estimated at about $62 billion.

Listening to the interview, CNBC's Kayla Tausche tweeted out Kalanick's response to Wilson. Moments later, Wilson responded to her tweet, writing Kalanick was "correct" about his passing on Uber.

Also on Wednesday, Kalanick announced Arianna Huffington, founder and editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, is joining Uber's board of directors.

He told CNBC he's known Huffington for a few years and he felt that they had a connection from the beginning. "We have a simpatico thing on building companies.

In a post on Uber's website, Kalanick wrote:

"For those of us who know Arianna, it's clear she knows a thing or two about being an entrepreneur."

"From the start of our friendship it was obvious that she believes deeply in our mission."

"[Her] ability to tell stories is invaluable for an engineer like me, whose natural tendency is to rely on data."

Huffington, sitting next to Kalanick, told CNBC she was briefed extensively about the company in the lead-up to becoming a board member.

Kalanick walked her through "the big-ball bets for the future, through the controversies, through the cultural values," she said, adding the final meeting to get her on the board was last week.


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