When a taxi company is valued at $15 Billion, it’s time to sell

  • I was like, “WTF??” The title is very confusing. Now I realize that the OP means Uber’s recent funding round which valued it at around $17 billion pre-money. Anyways, Uber shouldn’t sell since they are likely going to be a $100 billion plus company eventually.

    They’re growing like crazy and they’ve only tapped a tiny percentage of the total market. Also, they’ve made a partnership with Google, so once self-driving cars become a reality, they will be able to save even more money by not having to pay drivers, and it will bring them closer to realizing the founders dream of having everyone use Uber instead of owning a car.

    If the cost of uber is lower than owning a car, then a lot of people will just use self-driving uber cars to get where they want to go. It’s something that might become a reality a decade or more from now, especially in large cities where parking is a pain in the neck; better to just hop out of your uber and watch it drive away to pick up the next passenger rather than search for a parking spot and worry about feeding the meter.

    • A nationalized version of Uber and the Google car that facilitates public transportation would suit me just fine. I’ll let my taxes pay for this social service.

      • If taxes are involved then it wouldn’t involve companies like Uber and Google since that’s unfair for the government to favor certain companies over others.

        Rather, just like public transportation like buses and subways are funded by taxpayers but don’t benefit any companies, we will likely have government owned self-driving cars that might be Google powered, since they need their self-driving technology.

        Google would probably be more interested in the data than charging the government so for that reason I think Google might be the only company involved.

      • Well, in a lot of ways, startup culture is a sort of subsidy. Shitty companies with terrible odds get “investor funding”, which is a polite way of saying “taking money from successful companies and putting it in questionable ones”.

        What if they already made an “Uber for Everyone” and it was called “the subway”, and you even had to wait for it, and sometimes you got in and there was some creepy dude there? That’s boring, even if it’s mostly self-driving too.

        Anyway that’s all missing the point. Merrill Lynch just put out an analysis paper suggesting that catering to anything but the desires of the richest of the rich was a waste of time–so Uber might be a black car service, but is it “black car” enough?

        • Merrill Lynch’s research, in general, is worth the toilet paper that it is written on. That goes for Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, and Morgan Stanley as well.

  • One day we would find out that there are significant financial lobbying involved in companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb that operate on the premise of “lets break the law and get the law changed later”.

    There’s a reason for regulation: safety, hygiene, taxes. That’s why not everyone can just randomly open a food stall. The ONLY reason why I feel these companies are funded are because the investors knew they could lobby their way out of it. We may laud they kumbaya sharing economy happy story, but make no mistake, its a money grab from the start to the end.

    • tl;dr: Sharing Economy is a bunch of bullshit. It’s about investors finding a way to get a cut from shit people already do by way of some stupid Javascript app with Facebook integration that some kids wrote.

      Lyft and AirBNB have been more interested in, you know, actually following the law when pressured. I suspect that they aren’t trying to change the existing regulations that much–they’ve signaled to authorities that they want to play ball–just get their foot in the door at lower costs than your average undisrupted business.

      There certainly is an ideological component to all of this–it has these soft-touch libertarian tones that never really seem genuine–but none of the investors in these companies are really all that different from, e.g., investors in hotel chains.

      Money has a tendency to make plain things appear mysterious. You call a car company on your phone and get a verbal ETA. You press a button on your smartphone, and get an ETA graphic. Either way, you get the same thing. It’s just that now with Uber it’s obvious that a bunch of capital can flow into it, so now it’s mysterious and hot and disruptive–when, really, it’s a gypsy-cab-meets-black-car company establishing a nationwide presence.

      The irony, I think, in all this talk about “disruption” is that AFAICT these “disruptive” companies are really just trying to establish national or at-least metropole brands where previous you had smaller competing operators. IOW, more centralization, not less, from investors’ and managers’ perspectives. It’s hard to invest in an NY-LA-San Francisco-Chicago gypsy cab service or Craigslist-like casual hotel chain–until Uber and Lyft and AirBNB IPO. They can worry about regulatory compliance and lobbying and shareholder pressure after that. Now they have 17 billion! Time to hire lawyers and lobbyists!t

      What, you thought that The Independent Republic of Silicon Valley wouldn’t have to play the same game that every other billion-dollar industry does?

      If there was one regulation I suspected would change, it would be that, in reality, many of the “contractors” and part-time employees working for these companies are misqualified and would probably qualify as non-exempt employees. But that’s a bigger problem than the startup world.

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