Venture capitalist Bill Gurley is pretty excited about the taxi-hailing app Uber that connects car services with passengers. On the stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in New York yesterday, he told the crowd that, “Uber is growing faster than eBay did.” He ought to know, he invested in both.
As TechCrunch points out, Gurley’s company Benchmark invested $6.7 million in eBay and less than two years later, it was worth more than $5 billion.
Gurley explained that today most popular companies today like Twitter and Instagram, for instance, work around a business model of building a viral system first, then they figure out how to upend the business. Uber, on the other hand, had a business model in place from the beginning, said Gurley. “Travis [Kalanick] has done an amazing job of scaling the business,” he said, adding that the company has done zero marketing and instead has focused on the user experience.
Uber has been testing programs in France and Germany and recently launched in Chicago and Detroit. It also expanded its service in San Diego in the last month. Despite its growth, the app has faced its share of problems. The company pulled out of New York City after only six weeks after being challenged by NYC transportation unions.