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Uber CEO Says Seeking Funding at Record-Setting Valuation

Travis Kalanick
Travis Kalanick, chief executive officer at Uber Technologies Inc. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Uber Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick said the mobile car service could fetch a “record-breaking” valuation at its next funding round.

Kalanick said today at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, that he’s aware of fundraising reports, some of which peg the value of the company as high as $17 billion.

“We are raising money right now,” Kalanick said. “This one could be record breaking. I think folks have seen what’s been reported.”

Uber, which has rolled out its ride-sharing service in 115 cities globally, is in talks with investors to raise money that will value the San Francisco-based company at more than $10 billion, people with knowledge of the matter said earlier this month. That would make Uber one of the most richly-valued private technology companies, along with Dropbox Inc. and Airbnb Inc.

“I think the opportunity that Uber is facing is a very, very big one,” Kalanick said. “We should finance against that opportunity -- so that you can get this to every major city in the world.”

Uber was founded by Kalanick and Garrett Camp in 2009. The company has raised $307.5 million from investors including Benchmark, TPG Capital and Google Ventures.

Driverless Cars

Asked about driverless vehicles, Kalanick said that he was a fan of self-driving cars. Uber customers aren’t just paying for the use of a car, but also a driver, which add to the cost, he said.

“When there’s no other dude in the car, the cost of taking Uber anywhere becomes cheaper than owning a vehicle,” Kalanick said.

At the same conference yesterday, Google Inc. co-founder Sergey Brin unveiled the company’s latest driverless car, a vehicle designed to transport passengers at the push of a button.

While automated cars are still a ways off, Uber and its main competitor Lyft Inc. have faced numerous regulatory and legal challenges since getting started. Both startups were accused last week of racketeering in a lawsuit by Connecticut taxi and livery firms, which said the companies “prey parasitically” on established services.

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