Uber CEO Travis Kalanick
As you may have heard from this month's cover story on Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, "the Smartest Bro in the Room" is many things. He’s “petulant and prickly and quick to confrontation.” “Semi-crazy.” “A deeply rational, entirely bottom line–oriented entity.” But he's also very, very good at making money. Loads and loads of money.
Just ask Business Insider’s Henry Blodget, who thinks that the company could be going public in the next few years at a valuation of $50 to $100 billion. Last summer, it was valued at $18.2 billion. Is that explosive growth the sign of another tech bubble reaching peak inflation? Blodget doesn’t think so.
Why not? Most importantly, the San Francisco-based company is sucking in money like it’s going out of style. By the end of next year, it's expected to hit a gross intake of $10 billion per year. Uber keeps 20 percent of that and its drivers take home the rest. That means Uber’s net income would be $2 billion. And the company isn't just making a lot of money, it's making more money faster. Its growth rate was 300 percent this year and is expected to be the same next year. Critically, Uber has plenty of room to grow: Again according to Blodget, most of its revenue comes from only ten cities, which is a fraction of the 150 cities it's now operating in.
Not to mention, the company is a "gatekeeper to the physical world," whatever that means.
Uber’s biggest risk right now isn’t necessarily Kalanick’s less-than-sterling personal reputation—it's regulation. And on that front, Uber appears to be winning as well: Despite protests from the cab industry, the only city that regulators successfully drove Uber out of was Vancouver. That’s not a good sign for cabbies who are counting on government to protect them.
So, at least according to Blodget, the future is bright for Uber—and Kalanick. Not to mention the just-announced deal with Spotify to let riders plug in their playlists. It doesn’t matter that much, but it’s a good signal that Uber is paying attention to user needs. You ever try to get a cabbie to change the radio station?