That's a lot of dough

Uber raises $1.2 billion and promises to change corporate culture

Uber has raised another $1.2 billion, bringing its total finance up to $2.7 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, CEO Travis Kalanick said the company acknowledges its recent mistakes — most notably its threats against journalists — and seeks to learn from them. “The events of the recent weeks have shown us that we also need to invest in internal growth and change,” Kalanick said. “We are collaborating across the company and seeking counsel from those who have gone through similar challenges to allow us to refine and change where needed.”

With the additional dough, the company is now valued at $40 billion according to an Uber spokesperson, who spoke to Re/Code. That’s almost twice the market cap of Twitter and nearly four times the reported valuation of Airbnb. There’s no companies quite like Uber, with its mix of transportation and logistics. Hertz and FedEx are near cousins, however. Uber’s current valuation is nearly four times Hertz’s market cap and it’s only $10 billion less than FedEx‘s. Bear in mind, Uber has only been around for half a decade.

In the blog, Kalanick explained that the money will be used largely for international expansion, especially in Asia. A slew of taxi services in countries like China, India and Thailand can be hailed via apps, so Uber doesn’t have its incumbent power there. Some of its international nemeses are raising big cash reserves of their own, albeit at not nearly Uber’s drop-dropping amount.

At a time when private companies are raising greater and greater funds in lieu of going public, Uber has become the poster child for doing so. With the new funding, it’s far and away the most highly-valued private tech company in the U.S. In addition to this huge round, the company is reportedly in talks with Goldman Sachs for even more money via a convertible debt round. Kalanick suggested that may still be in the works, saying in the blog post that Uber has “additional capacity remaining for strategic investments.”

With great funding comes great responsibility. Kalanick’s apology shows the fingerprints of former White House staffer David Plouffe. Recognizing problems with internal company culture and promising to change should have been Uber’s response to its latest missteps from the get-go. Instead, Kalanick’s initial tweet storm apologizing for SVP Emil Michael looked more like an internal company memo to rally the troops. Plouffe took the reigns on the company’s communication strategy in late September, and I suspect Uber’s media savvy blog post bears his touch.