Uber, the private car company that is especially popular in San Francisco these days, today announced that it is launching in Paris today. After 18 months of operating in the U.S., Uber is now expanding internationally. As the company’s CEO co-founder Travis Kalanick told CrunchFund’s MG Siegler on stage at LeWeb in Paris today, the idea for Uber was actually born out of the frustration of finding taxis in Paris. Rolling out in Paris, Kalanich noted, was similar to rolling out the service in San Francisco, as the regulatory environment is quite comparable. Uber also aimed to stay ahead of the copycat industry that is so prevalent in Europe and often makes entering the European market hard for U.S. firms.
Coming to Paris – More Cities in the Works
Uber expects to roll the service out in about 20 more cities in Europe in the next year or so. The idea for the company is to launch in about one or two cities per month.
It’s worth noting, though, that Uber fares in Paris will be roughly 75% more expensive than regular taxis in the city. Uber is launching with 60 cars at first. According to Kalanick, about a third to half of all of Uber’s drivers are fully dedicated to using Uber. Others use the product to fill their dead time.
Raising $32 Million
In addition, Travis Kalanick also announced that Uber just raised $32 million from Menlo Ventures, Goldman Sachs, and Jeff Bezos’ venture capital firm Bezos Expeditions. With this, the company is also likely on course for an IPO in the next few years. Uber actually raised closer to $39 million in this C-round, but is keeping some of the money on the table for now.