If super sleek design, black-car-service for yellow cab fare or the slick German moniker weren't enough to win you over to Uber, this might be: New York Magazine published an article entitled 'Uber Might be More Valuable Than Facebook.'
Thanks to a leaked screenshot including a six week report from Uber's internal dashboard, we know (or speculate!) that the startup are turning over some whopping revenue numbers. While it's impossible to calculate Uber's 2013 revenue without knowing the rate of growth, it does tell us one thing: Uber is a big player and it's about to get bigger. Here's evidence: they're hiring like it's out of style - check their jobs list and plans to quadruple their staff. Their last valuation was in August at $3.5 billion, but if the leak is to be taken seriously, their estimated annual revenue is more than $200 million. In comparison, Twitter, valued at $25 billion, did $317 million in revenue last year. They're in 22 countries, 60 cities, and launching into new locations rapidly. Add that to the fact that Uber raised an astonishing $258 million from Google Ventures and TPG Investments in August, and they're hiring like crazy at the moment.
New York Magazine's Kevin Roose liken's Uber to Amazon: a company that started out selling books, but quickly identified the opportunity to use their warehouses to sell other things. Now we don't think of Amazon as a place to buy books - we think of it as 'the everything store', as Brad Stone calls it in his biography of the company & its founder Jeff Bezos. In a fashion reflective of Amazon's own evolution, Uber recently changed its tagline from 'everyone's private driver' to 'where lifestyle meets logistics.'
Taking Over Taxis
Uber have also lined up $2.5 billion (count it) in outside financing to financing for low interest car loans for UberX drivers. What does this mean? More cars, more drivers (locked into exclusivity with Uber), and ultimately - more revenue for Uber. But what is this all pointing to?
The Death of the Ownership Industry
This tells us a few things: the app is well liked - it serves a need and it does it well. It also points to an interesting trend - a trend towards not owning products, but instead valuing experiences. We're already seeing it happening with music. People don't own records, CD's, or even iTunes libraries anymore - they're moving to services like Spotify, Cable companies are growing increasingly nervous as people cancel their subscriptions in order to watch TV shows on Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime, & others. And the evidence is there to back it up - TV set ownership and car ownership are in decline in the U.S. Once Uber have their infrastructure in place, anything is possible - Uber will have attracted an audience, placed themselves in everyone's pocket's, & created an on-demand mobile service platform.
Watch this space.