Uber Technologies Inc. is in fundraising mode again to bring in about $1 billion to finance its rapid international expansion, said people familiar with the situation.
Uber’s talks with new and existing investors are at such early stage that it is premature to indicate a valuation, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the details are private. Travis Kalanick, the car-booking company’s co-founder and chief executive officer, is seeking a higher valuation than the $17 billion Uber got in its $1.2 billion fundraising from investors led by Fidelity Investments in June, one of the people said.
The Financial Times earlier reported that Uber is in discussions to raise a new round of $1 billion or more.
Uber, based in San Francisco, is already among the highest-valued closely held companies in the U.S. amid a financing boom in Silicon Valley. Several technology startups have landed eleven-digit valuations this year, including Snapchat Inc. and Airbnb Inc. Outside of the U.S., Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. is currently in talks to raise funding at a $40 billion to $50 billion valuation.
Uber was founded by Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009. The service now operates in about 220 cities worldwide. Customers use their smartphones to book car services including sports utility vehicles, black cars or other autos. Uber has looked at markets outside of passenger transport, such as logistics, with Uber having offered bicycle courier deliveries in New York, and having tested moving services in Atlanta and Nashville, Tennessee.
Any new funding would deepen Uber’s resources for expansion, as well as taking on opponents. The company has faced protests as it has created competition for established taxi and limousine industries.
In August, Uber hired David Plouffe, U.S. President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign manager, to be senior vice president of policy and strategy and to lead policy and political activities, branding and communications.
Uber is also locked in a rivalry with car-sharing service Lyft Inc., which raised $250 million earlier this year. Both companies have alleged the other has engaged in rough tactics to recruit drivers, and Lyft has sued a former executive who defected to Uber for breach of contract.