With a new valuation on Friday that came with a $1.2 billion influx of cash, Uber is now second only to Facebook in terms of the pre-IPO investment sum that it has raised. The new funding round came from a consortium of investors led by Fidelity Investments, as the Wall Street Journal reports, and the new $18.2 billion valuation reflects both the "frothiness" of the venture capital scene right now, and investors' big faith in Uber to expand beyond being a simple car-summoning app.
The company has quadrupled in value in the last year, and as reported in December in the wake of some leaked financials, that's in part due to some unprecedented rapid growth. They've now raised a total of $1.5 billion in investment cash since being founded in 2009, putting them ahead of Twitter's total pre-IPO investment sum of $1.2 billion and Groupon's $1.1 billion. Only Facebook, which had raised $2.4 billion before its IPO, has it beat.
The Journal also points out that the $18.2 billion figure puts Uber ahead of the recently merged United/Continental Airlines in terms of valuation, and it means that Uber is worth more than rental-car companies Hertz and Avis combined.
And to put this in perspective, Uber's largest direct competitor, Lyft, has only raised $332.5 million.
There has been talk of Uber eventually becoming a catch-all logistics pioneer, making quick delivery of all kinds of items possible through its app and its network of drivers a business model that the company has not yet publicly discussed, but which has been hinted at through various promotions like the Christmas tree delivery service they did in December for one day only. It's also possible that they could get into the business of renting things for one-day use like hot tubs or gas grills or bouncy castles and provide delivery and pickup as part of the deal.
So yes, maybe they could end up overtaking Facebook and Amazon! Or this is all just a symptom of the bubble that's about to burst. Take your pick.