Uber just raised $1.2 billion at a valuation of $18 billion.
Let that sink in for a moment: a valuation of $18 billion! If that doesn't look like much, you must be thinking about Facebook's pre-IPO valuation of $50 billion, but Uber just landed the second largest private valuation on record. See here.
I have used Uber's service only once, with Vic Fleischer and Christine Hurt in Seattle, and I spent the whole ride quizzing the driver on the business model. Of course, I could have just googled it, but it was nice to see the business through the driver's eyes. It looks a lot like franchising, but with lower investment costs for the franchisees (drivers).
Why all the fuss? This is not just about replacing taxis. This is about displacing UPS and FedEx. See here for more on that possibility. Exciting stuff.
P.S. For those of you invested in the SharesPost 100 Fund, congratulations! Uber is on the list.
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