As widely speculated, Uber confirmed Friday that it has raised $1.2 billion, skyrocketing its valuation to $17 billion. The new round makes Uber one of the most highly valued venture-backed startups, and it expects an additional $200 million in financing from strategic investors. About a year ago, the ridesharing startup was valued at $3.5 billion.
In the four years since Uber's founding, the company has been rapidly expanding. Today it operates in 128 cities in 37 countries, and offers different tiers at varying price points. However, the e-hailing startup has faced aggressive regulatory hurdles as it expands to new cities. Though it isn't welcomed everywhere, Uber landed a majority victory Thursday when Colorado became the first state to legalize ridesharing services.
Key to Uber's expansion has been recruiting more drivers to its platform. However, that won't always be the case. In recent remarks made at the Code conference, CEO Travis Kalanick talked about driverless cars being in the company's future, though that's still a long way out.
[Image: Flickr user Vladimir Kostka]