An Uber IPO would be the offering of the year: huge, spectacular and, according to the popular ride-hailing app’s CEO Travis Kalanick, not happening any time soon if he can help it.
Tell me more!
Kalanick’s words are likely to disappoint investors who have been eagerly waiting to cash in on Uber’s meteoric rise in valuation over the past few years.
That’s because the unicorn, valued around $62.5 billion as of December, is in no shortage of private funding—which gives the company more freedom to manage its affairs. It also gives the company fewer regulatory hurdles to jump, and fewer eyes on its balance sheets.
Kalanick’s comments, which have been repeated by the CEO before—come at a time when private capital for unicorns seems to be drying up, while recent tech IPOs, including Zynga, Etsy and Fitbit are having a tough time.
“He’s wimping out,” a venture capitalist told Fortune. “That should be a publicly traded company.” He added that Uber had to give returns to private equity investors. “You can’t just say f— you. Take the goddamn company public.”
My 2 cents:
A previous post highlighted the dark cloud over the start up-VC relationship. With a history of failed IPOs and/or subsequent lack luster results, the funding system is ripe for revision on both sides and Kalanick’s stance (in stark contrast to the colorful venture capitalist Fortune source) might become a norm of sorts. Keeping Uber private is a tactical choice that goes well with the start-up way of doing things. In re-privatizing Dell, Michael Dell strove to achieve a similar degree of administrative liberty that Kalanick is bent on. Uber is set to challenge yet another status quo here and I can’t blame Kalanick for sticking to his winning formula… No can I blame the disgruntled venture capitalists out there. Real unicorns are in shorter supply than was once expected and the largest one is refusing to pay off.