Mobile ride hailing startup Uber is expected to hit an annual revenue run rate of $10 billion by the end of 2015, sources told Business Insider’s Henry Blodget. Uber keeps 20 percent of every transaction, which means Uber will be netting about $2 billion on $10 billion gross revenue. What’s more, most of Uber’s revenue comes from 10 of its earliest cities, including San Francisco and New York. When its other 140+ cities mature, you can imagine that $10 billion revenue figure multiplying quickly. San Francisco alone generates hundreds of millions of dollars for Uber. Uber is operating in more than 45 countries without having made a single acquisition.
The digital taxi service Uber is raising money again, which means that people are once again gawping at the company’s valuation. The previous round, last summer, was a $1.2 billion deal that valued the company at $18.2 billion (post-money). The new valuation will probably be far higher. Most observers view that valuation as a sign of obvious insanity — further confirmation of “a new tech bubble.” Based on what I am hearing about the company’s financial performance, most of these observers, respectfully, don’t know what they’re talking about. Uber’s new investors could obviously lose money, just like any investors. But for two reasons, the investment is probably a more reasonable bet than it might initially appear. First, the new Uber investors will almost certainly buy preferred stock, not common stock — a point that private-market valuation gawpers often miss. When you buy preferred stock, your downside is usually limited. Preferred investors are higher in the capital structure than common investors (thus the “preferred”), so in a liquidity event, they usually get all their money back, even if the company sells for a much lower valuation than the one at which they invested. In many cases, including, possibly, this one, preferred investors also get a guaranteed return.