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The Staggering Figures behind The Rise Of Uber – The (second) Greatest Start-up Phenomenon Of All Time?

Uber raising

Uber’s business broken down by the guys at mister BEEP; to see the whole infographic click here

Uber; the name says it all. It’s the biggest, the most controversial and the most heavily backed startup to have come out of Silicon Valley since Facebook. It’s the biggest bet on a disruptive tech platform ever and the cultural implications of its success or otherwise will reverberate through the decades.

Celebrities and entrepreneurs are enthralled and entranced by its simplicity, power and reach. Governments, rivals and those who liked things the way they were or depended on them staying that way to support their families somewhat less so. Some of its leadership team have been jailed, they have been attacked verbally and physically and it’s said that Travis Kalanick, the firm’s leader and protagonist in chief hatches his plans for global domination from an office that resembles nothing so much as a war room.

It is neither loved like Facebook, admired like Airbnb, accepted like LinkedIn or B2B facing like Salesforce or Microsoft. It’s not diversified like Google / Alphabet. But it is brash, unapologetic, and not going anywhere. Its edgy and risky, but it’s working. The best way to silence the doubters is to keep growing.

With a big nod of appreciation to the guys at mister BEEP who have produced this quite illuminating infographic (some of which you can see here but the rest you can see here), here are the stats they have compiled that tell you everything you need to know about Uber. Everybody has an opinion about Uber, but good, bad or indifferent, the figures take some digesting. And there is a little biographical detail thrown in for good measure.

Uber rivals

According to misterBEEP

To begin with, it was no surprise to anybody within San Francisco’s circle of “Technorati” that Travis Kalanick would start a company that would both change the world and attract huge amounts of controversy. Kalanick was the guy who took Mark Zuckerberg out clubbing in NYC shortly after his first ever meeting with Napster founder Sean Parker.

Like Zuckerberg Kalanick is a college dropout – unlike his erstwhile drinking companion, Kalanick has been arrested, his first company failed forcing him to move back in with his parents, and although its Zuckerberg who has a Chinese wife, Kalanick is the one rumoured to want to relocate permanently to the country, where Uber is currently growing fastest.

The Money

If you had got on board with Uber early and put some skin in the game when the ride-sharing slash taxi service was first launched, let’s say $20,000, your stake would be worth $40 million today. Uber began with a seed raise of $200k, followed by an angel round of $1.25m, then Series A-F which raised a combined total of approximately $7bn, followed by 3 private equity rounds totalling $3.3bn. We may never see anything like it again in our lifetimes. Uber itself has pumped $1bn into both India and China to fuel expansion – it’s goal in India is to book 1 million rides per day by the end of 2016.

To put the fundraisings into perspective Uber’s closest rival in the funding stakes, Didi Kuaidi, has raised $4.42bn, Ola Cabs $1.1bn, Lyft $1bn and Blablacar $337m. Uber’s market cap, in excess of $50bn, is nearly twice that its 5 closest competitors combined (Didi Kuaidi at $15bn and Lyft at $2.6bn are the next biggest). Uber achieved a $40bn market cap in less than 5 years, the first company ever to do so. LinkedIn took 13 years to achieve a capitalisation of $28.5bn, Twitter 7 years to achieve $22.4bn. Facebook’s market cap is £214.6bn, after 11 years of growth. Uber is currently worth more than Ford, General Motors, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner.

Uber staff

The Drivers

The number of new Uber drivers has doubled every 6 months for the past 2 years and currently stands at over 160,000. 8m people use the service. 2 million rides were booked on New Year’s Eve 2014, the most on any one day. Nearly 100,000 were riding in an Uber when the clock struck midnight. The most popular time to book is between 8pm-2am. Uber recorded its one millionth ride in 2014. At the end of 2015, the company had released App version updates.

The average Uber driver in the US earns between $10-$15 dollars per trip. In terms of earnings, there is little to separate Uber and Lyft. The cheapest place to hire an Uber (or a Lyft) is in Los Angeles ($11.53, 3 cents cheaper than Lyft), the most expensive is New York ($29.34, $28.62 for a Lyft), more than twice as expensive as anywhere else in the States.

Uber is outright banned in 10 countries, amongst them Japan, Spain, South Africa, Brazil, Taiwan, The Netherlands and South Korea. It is partially banned in Australia, India, and America (Florida and Alaska).

20% of Uber drivers are women, 25% are aged over 50, and 71% have dependents. 19% are under 30, 50% of drivers in the US drive less than 10 hours per week, and 90% say they are happy with the way Uber fits in with the rest of their lives. It will cost Uber $4.1bn to convert their drivers into employees.

Uber lobbying

The Passengers

More than 2m people ride in an Uber every day. The company spends between $0.5-1m per month on PPC ads.

The company has fought more than 173 lawsuits, and allegations of rape have been made against Uber drivers in New Jersey, Carolina, New Delhi, Boston, and sexual abuse in Toronto, Chicago and China.

Uber has 512,000 Twitter followers, and 4m likes on Facebook. The Company also runs, food delivery service Uber Eats, Uber Kitten, delivering kittens to adoptive parents’ doorsteps, and helicopter service Uber Chopper. More than 100,000 people use Uber Pool, the ride sharing service. Uber also plans to partner with Carnegie Mellon to develop a driverless car.

Yep, they don’t come much bigger than Uber. This soon-to-be-decacorn business, that began with two unemployed guys trying to hail a cab in the rain, has become the most talked about company in the world. Well, almost – Kalanick is still not in Zuckerberg’s league – yet.


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