Having just raised $1.2 billion in funding, Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick has written of the company’s next steps.
Kalanick flags the Asia Pacific as being the focus for the company with the latest fund raising which values the business as currently being worth over forty billion dollars.
That valuation is a massive achievement for a five year old business, with the growth pains involved being one highlighted in Kalanick’s post.
This kind of growth has also come with significant growing pains. The events of the recent weeks have shown us that we also need to invest in internal growth and change. Acknowledging mistakes and learning from them are the first steps. 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.
One of the big challenges for a high growth business is managing that growth; systems that work well for a ten person organisation with a few hundred clients fall over when you have a hundred staff, thousands of contractors and millions of customers.
Probably the biggest challenge for businesses like Uber is privacy; what’s clear is the ‘God View’ that allowed the company’s staff to monitor customers and drivers has been abused and is too easily accessed by employees. Tightening data security is going to be one of the major tasks for business.
Fortunately, taking swift action is where Uber shines, and we will be making changes in the months ahead. Done right, it will lead to a smarter and more humble company that sets new standards in data privacy, gives back more to the cities we serve and defines and refines our company culture effectively.
‘Giving more back to cities’ flags what could be a new strategy for growth in places where regulators and governments have been hostile to Uber. One of the reasons for Uber’s success in Sydney for example has been the utter disgust the general population and business community has for the local taxi companies, showing Uber as a good corporate citizen could help in more hostile European markets.
While Kalanick identifies the Asia Pacific as being the big growth market he doesn’t identify in what fields; it’s hard not to think Uber’s software has more potential in logistics than hire car dispatch and this is an area where the company could find more opportunities to expand the company’s services.
Regardless of the direction Kalanick decides to take Uber, the company is cashed up and ready to expand. As long as management keeps the confidence of investors, the business’ fate is in it’s own hands.
Uber is probably the most fascinating and complex of this generation of tech startups, Kalanick’s post shows it’s story has a long way to play out.