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On-demand car hire service Uber raises $1.2B in funding at $17B valuation

Uber-logoGlobal online luxury car hire service Uber Technologies Inc, which has operations in more than 120 cities across the globe, including Bangalore, New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai and Pune in India, has closed $1.2 billion in fresh funding from institutional investors, mutual funds, private equity and VC investors at $17 billion pre-money valuation, the company announced in a blog post.

The investors who participated in this round include Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management, BlackRock Inc, Summit Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, and Menlo Ventures, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Uber will soon announce a second close which will take its total investment from this round to about $1.4 billion. With the fresh funding, the total capital raised by Uber so far reached $1.5 billion. Last year, it had received $360 million from Google Ventures and a few other investors.

Launched in 2009, San Francisco-headquartered Uber is one of the heavily-funded online car hire services in the world. The company enables users to request a ride any time using its iOS and Android apps, as well as from its mobile site m.uber.com. Uber is simply a booking platform, and the cars are not operated by the company.

UBER

Uber in India

The company started its India expansion in October last year with a launch in Bangalore, followed by New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Mumbai. Pune was added to its city count late last month, where it operates brands like Renault Duster, Toyota Innova, Nissan Sunny, BMW 3 Series, Toyota Fortuner, Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Vento. The base fare is Rs 80 and post booking the customer needs to pay Rs 2 per minute and an additional Rs 15 per km.

India is home to many VC-backed online cars/cabs hire services including TaxiForSure, which recently closed a $10 million funding round led by Bessemer Venture Partners; Tiger Global-backed Olacabs; Inventus and Intel Capital-backed Savaari Car Rentals; WestBridge-backed CarzOnRent and offline services like Meru Cabs, among others. Then there are Tier-II and Tier III cities-focused online services like Clear Car Rentals and Taxio. The latest funding will enable Uber to expand quite aggressively in cities across the globe, including Kolkata and Ahmedabad in India, where it is looking to hire local people who can act as entrepreneurs running their own startups.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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