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Friday, June 6, 2014

Uber Now the Second Richest Start-Up in History

Posted By on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick dispensing advice on how to not get screwed by Uber.
  • Uber CEO Travis Kalanick dispensing advice on how to not get screwed by Uber.

Uber, the hotly-contested car-hire app that has rankled everyone from San Francisco's taxi boss to District Attorney George Gascon, can now count itself among the wealthiest start-ups in the world.

According the the Wall Street Journal, the company just raised $1.2 billion dollars, putting its total value at $18.2 billion -- or $17 billion, per Uber's own reports. BusinessInsider pegged it as the world's "most valuable start-up" in the world; HuffPost called it the second richest in history, after Facebook.

Just to give you an idea of how loaded Uber is, we've compiled a list of five things that are worth less:

1. the GDP of Zimbabwe, creeping in at $10.8 billion

2. Airbnb, the hospitality behemoth that conflated "sharing" with profiteering. Worth $10 billion.

3. The city budget of San Francisco, worth just a fraction of Uber at $8.6 billion.

4. The budget of Muni, which clocks in at $953 million -- roughly 1/20th of Uber.

5. A Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, worth about $150 million. For Uber, that's loose change.

Other things that are dwarfed by Uber include: media mogul Robert Murdoch, all the homes in Durham, North Carolina, or Falls State, Virginia,, taqueria mega-chain Chipotle, Italian luxury car company Fiat, and United Airlines.

Evidently, that's the reward for creating a company that essentially has no infrastructure. Gascon, San Francisco International Airport, and various public safety advocates are all calling for tougher regulation on the transit start-up, which has already despoiled the local cab industry. But clearly, they're battling a giant.

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About The Author

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan

Rachel Swan was a staff writer at SF Weekly from 2013 to 2015. In previous lives she was a music editor, IP hack, and tutor of Cal athletes.

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