SAN FRANCISCO — Ride-hailing giant Uber has raised $2.1 billion in its latest round of funding, which brings the six-year-old company’s total raise to more than $10 billion and its valuation to $62 billion, according to a Bloomberg News report citing filed documents.
This latest round will help Uber with its often stated mission to push aggressively into China and other major Asian markets, where rivals such as China’s Didi Kuaidi (which raised $3 billion this year), India’s Ola and Singapore’s GrabTaxi have strong footholds. On Thursday, those three companies along with Uber’s U.S. competitor Lyft announced they would be forming a strategic partnership to collaborate on technology and services.
Uber also has been actively pursuing costly self-driving car technology, as evidenced by its recent hiring of numerous robotics and autonomous car experts from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. Google has been working on autonomous vehicles for six years and Apple is rumored to be entering the race as well, one that also has competition from traditional automakers such as Ford and Mercedes-Benz.
Lead investors in Uber’s $2.1 billion round include Tiger Global Management and T. Rowe Price, according to Bloomberg. Investors in past rounds have included Baidu, Fidelity, Benchmark and Google Ventures. Uber spokesperson Kristin Carvell declined to comment on the report.
Started in 2009 by CEO Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, Uber is a leading if often controversial figure in the growing gig economy that includes tech-anchored companies such as lodging site Airbnb. While Uber’s growth has been meteoric, it has often generated protests from taxi drivers and their unions in some of the global cities where it operates. It has also had to contend with complaints of passenger assaults by some of its freelance drivers.
CEO Kalanick clearly feels that the future will be filled with Uber’s driverless vehicles. “It’s all about making Uber cheaper than owning a car,” he told Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff during a fireside chat at this fall’s Dreamforce gathering in San Francisco. “If we can do that, then you no longer have parking problems in San Francisco. You don’t have congestion. You help pollution, you create jobs in the city, the list goes on.”
Follow USA TODAY tech reporter Marco della Cava on Twitter @marcodellacava.
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