Ride-hailing startup Uber is seeking another $2.1 billion in funding, which would value the company at $62.5 billion, reports Bloomberg. A source close to the company tells TechCrunchthat the new funding round could value the company as high as $64.6 billion.
Meanwhile, competing ride-hailing apps Lyft, Didi Kuaidi, Ola, and GrabTaxi have formed a global alliance to share technology and strategy in order the take on Uber, reports TechCrunch. Users of those companies, which are based in the U.S., China, India, and Southeast Asia, respectively, will be able to access rides from each service through their local app.
This new alliance between Uber’s major competitors was set in motion this past September, when Lyft announced a partnership with Didi Kuaidi, Uber’s biggest rival in China, in which Didi Kuaidi will invest $100 million in U.S.-based Lyft.
Expanding in China is a top priority for Uber, as Fast Company reported in our October 2015 profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick. “That’s where the action is,” Kalanick told writer Max Chafkin. Chafkin described Kalanick’s intense focus on China:
…Kalanick and I discuss China, one of his current obsessions and a place where his ideological flexibility has been an asset. “It’s just different than everywhere else,” he says, referring to Uber’s recent expansion into the country. “And, so, you can’t take your pattern or your model for other places and take that to China. You just can’t. You have to do it different.” Kalanick has made numerous trips to the country to try to understand the quirks of Chinese transportation systems and its brand of government bureaucracy.
In a June 2015 letter to investors, Uber said it intends to spend at least $1 billion to expand in China. In the same letter, Kalanick said the app was serving about 1 million rides a day in the country. Rival app Didi Kuaidi, by contrast, serves some 3 million rides a day in China, as of June.
The new global alliance takes effect in the first quarter of 2015, reports TechCrunch. But Uber is well-poised to take on these competitors: According to Forbes, this week’s $2.1 billion funding round for Uber “alone would be more than the all-time total funding for each of all but three other privately held startups (Airbnb, Didi Kuaidi, and Flipkart).”
As of mid-August 2015, Uber operates in 330 cities around the world and has more than 1 million active drivers who collectively make more than 2 million rides a day.