Uber close to raising over $1B funding at $40B valuation

Global online car hire service major Uber Technologies Inc is in advanced talks to raise at least $1 billion in fresh round of funding from new as well as existing investors including US-based investment firm T Rowe Price Group, says a Bloomberg , quoting unnamed sources.

The fresh investment would value the firm at $35-$40 billion, said the report, adding that existing investor Fidelity Investments might also participate in the round.

In July this year, Uber had closed $1.2 billion in funding from institutional investors, mutual funds as well as PE and VC investors at $17 billion pre-money valuation. According to a The Wall Street Journal report then, the investors who participated in that round included Fidelity Investments, Wellington Management, BlackRock Inc, Summit Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Google Ventures, and Menlo Ventures, Uber had said in a blog post that it would soon announce a second close.

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 Uber is simply a booking platform, and the cars are not operated by the company.

The company started its operations in India in October last year and is already present in 11 cities -- Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Jaipur, New Delhi, Pune, Ahmedabad, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Mumbai. It recently entered Kochi.

Recently, Uber rolled out its ultra cheap variant UberGo in India that offers its customers chauffeur-driven hatchbacks (like Tata Indica Vista, Etios Liva and Maruti Suzuki Swift) for a price that it claims is lower than an auto-rickshaw. The company is also running vehicle financing programme in partnership with financial services firms and auto manufacturers.

In India, Uber is competing with Olacabs and TaxiForSure, among online and offline car hire services.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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