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UBER UBER ALLES: Investors value ride app at $17 BEEELLION

Taxi-killing ride app surfs frothy dollar wave from Fidelity Investments

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Designer taxi purveyor Uber has inked an investment deal which will value the company at three times the combined salary of every taxi driver and chauffeur in the United States.

The company confirmed Friday that it had secured $1.2bn in funding from investors, valuing the company at $17bn.

While Uber did not say who had provided the latest cash infusion, reports from Bloomberg said Fidelity Investments was the lead money-thrower.

"With our growth and expansion, the company has evolved from being a scrappy Silicon Valley tech startup to being a way of life for millions of people in cities around the world," Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick said in announcing the deal.

"This 'Uber' way of life is really a reflection of our mission to turn ground transportation into a seamless service and to enable a transportation alternative in cities that makes car ownership a thing of the past."

Uber, founded in 2009, has created a stir within the taxi industry as the firm's mobile app, fleet of private cars ,and contracted vehicles allow users to order rides directly from their mobile phones. While the service has proven popular in many cities, cabbies around the world have mounted protests against it, claiming it undercuts their pricing and puts passengers in the hands of unsafe drivers.

According to 2012 numbers from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the valuation Uber announced today would be more than three times the combined median wage of every taxi driver and chauffeur in the United States.

Less than a month ago, Uber raised eyebrows when it was reported that the company was pitching investors on a $10bn valuation. Now it seems that those reports woefully undervalued a firm which is now said to be worth almost as much as Twitter, (whose market cap currently sits at $19.51bn).

The announcement of the eye-popping valuation of Uber would put the car service just behind the $19b Facebook paid to acquire WhatsApp earlier this year. Should Google – whose own Google Ventures has backed Uber – or another giant be considering an acquisition, today's funding announcement is likely to drive the firm's asking price way up. ®

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