On-demand car service Uber has just announced a massive $1.2 billion injection from “some of the leading investors in the world,” which values the company at $17 billion (not counting what they already have in the war chest).
With that announcement, Uber now operates in 128 cities in 37 countries around the world and says that they are directly responsible for creating 20,000 new jobs every month.
“With our growth and expansion, the company has evolved from being a scrappy Silicon Valley tech startup to being a way of life for millions of people in cities around the world. This ‘Uber’ way of life is really a reflection of our mission to turn ground transportation into a seamless service and to enable a transportation alternative in cities that makes car ownership a thing of the past,” says Uber CEO Travis Kalanick in a blog post.
Uber says that their car service is “improving the environment, reducing DUI rates and fueling urban economic development.”
With this new round of funding, Uber is now planted firmly in the big leagues – but it isn’t exactly smooth sailing for the company. For one, Uber (and other similar services like Lyft) are facing stiff resistance from the old guard – taxi companies. And that influence has trickled down into state-by-state politics, where they are facing probable fines in some areas for “illegal operations.”
Just today, we learned the the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles sent Uber a cease and desist letter, demanding that Uber stop all operations in the state or face fines.
Not only that, but Uber has also faced questions about the safety of its service – mainly a question of “just who the hell is driving me around?” An off-the-clock Uber driver has been accused of kidnapping a drunk woman, taking her to a hotel, and sexually assaulting her. The company is also currently embroiled in a wrongful death suit after the tragic accident that took the life of a six-year-old girl on New Year’s Eve.
Still, Uber has confidence moving forward – and a whole lot of cash to boot.
“We appreciate the confidence that investors, riders and partner drivers have shown in us and we intend to deliver,” says Kalanick.
Image via Uber, Facebook