It was just another taxi ride for Marvin and Ara on Christmas Eve in London in Ara’s Honda, but what they didn’t know was that it marked Uber’s one billionth rides since its inception in 2009.
One billion. Yep, you heard it right. The on-demand transportation app, looking to raise $2.1 Billion to fight off stiff competition, is celebrating the one billionth ride by awarding 10,000 pound worth Uber rides free to Marvin, the passenger. The driver, Ara too gets a paid vacation to a Uber city of his choice.
Additionally, The company also made a donation to a literacy charity in Marvin’s home neighborhood — the Hackney Pirates.
A year ago, Uber said it booked 1 million rides a day. In September, CEO Travis Kalanick announced that Uber had doubled that. The company is valued at a whopping $62.5 billion, making it the most valued privately held tech start-up globally.
The aggressively expanding company, has over the years, experienced some pretty serious obstacles though, while continuing to grow and raise funding. As on Jan 2015, more than 160,000 people drive for Uber(14% of which are women) in more than 50 countries and 290 cities.
It has been making efforts to gain a massive market share in its primary regions-USA, India and China. In India, it has just started leasing out cars to driver partners. It faces formidable competition in the form of the global ride sharing network, that is, the Ola-Didi Kuadi-Lyft-Grab Taxi. Notably, the combined funding off the four companies is less than Uber’s cash piles: Ola, Didi Kuaidi, Lyft and GrabTaxi have raised more than $7 billion while Uber has raised close to $10 billion since starting out in 2009.