Google Ventures pumps $258M into Uber transportation app
Transportation-on-demand services firm Uber Technologies has closed a financing round totaling $361.2 million, vaulting the startup's valuation to around $3.5 billion.
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) Ventures was the largest contributor, adding $258 million to Uber's coffers. The investment is Google Ventures' largest single deal to date and represents 86 percent of the $300 million-a-year fund. Private equity giant TPG Capital added $88.4 million to the round, and existing Uber investor Benchmark Capital chipped in another $15 million. Google Chief Legal Officer and Senior Vice President of Corporate Development David Drummond and TPG co-founder David Bonderman will both join the Uber board of directors.
Uber--available for Google's Android, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS, Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone and BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY)--enables users in select metropolitan cities to request private car service from any location. The app lets the driver know the pickup location, and it updates the consumer on the vehicle's arrival time. At the end of the ride, Uber automatically charges the credit card on file, complete with tip, and generates receipts both inside the app and via email.
Uber services are now available in 40 cities across 15 countries. Uber and rivals like Sidecar and Lyft have run afoul of cab companies and limousine operators who fear the threat posed to traditional transportation services: Late last year, an International Association of Transportation Regulators task force issued proposed guidelines that would halt the use of a GPS-equipped smartphone in place of a conventional taxi meter. Local lawmakers have also taken steps to ban apps like Uber.
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