Conversations@Tangible

Uber boom-boom-boys… Looks like the silicon valley story you expected!

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Uber has gone from black-car service into a sprawling logistics company pushing for self-driving cars. It seems regulators, their industry and even their drivers don’t like them but users and investors love them. Uber started in 1998 (& will probably end) with Travis Kalanick, who dropped out of UCLA to start a peer-to-peer search-engine that would file for bankruptcy after being sued for around $250 billion. Kalanick then goes on to start a similar company which he sells for $23 million in 2008. Then, after hearing about the idea of Uber, Kalanick sets up UberCab in 2009 with 3 other founders, which quickly become a hit in San Francisco even though it cost 1.5 times as much as a conventional black cab.

The following years became a cycle of major investment and board-room reshuffles – all ending with more money and Kalanick sitting at the top while professing that he needs management help. Series A funding closes at $11million (incl $1.25 million from Napster co-founder Shawn Fanning). Series B funding closes at $32million (inc investments from Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs). July 2014: Uber enters China after raising a $1.2 billion. China looks like it will eventually become Uber’s biggest market as five out of Uber’s 10 largest cities are in China. Uber then raises $600 million from Chinese search powerhouse Baidu. Integrating Baidu’s mobile-search and maps apps with Uber.

Uber now also runs:

Uber pool  – car sharing

UberCARGO – cargo delivery

Uber Eats – food delivery

UberRUSH – bicycle delivery

Kalanick has previously mused, “The reason Uber could be expensive is because you’re not just paying for the car – you’re paying for the other dude in the car.” This was after Uber poached 40 staff from Carnegie Mellon University to staff its robotics-research arm building self-driving cars.

Read more: How Uber grew up to become the world’s most valuable startup

See more: History of Uber