How Uber's $40 billion could become a problem

It would appear nothing can slow Uber down. Despite recent controversy in the press, investors seem confident in the company.

After raising money this summer at an $18 billion valuation, the company recently raised an additional $1.2 billion at a whopping valuation of $40 billion for its latest funding round. So in just six months its valuation more than doubled. That's pretty rare, industry experts say.

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But with the huge valuation comes a few potential problems, say analysts, including setting up perhaps-too-lofty expectations for the company's inevitable IPO.

Too big too fast?

"This is a massive step up in valuation in just six months. Folks obviously feel like it's a big market opportunity and feel good Uber will capitalize on it," said Anand Sanwal, founder and CEO of CB Insights, a firm that tracks venture capital investments.

"There haven't been a lot of companies raising billion plus rounds and their pace is pretty remarkable. The sentiment is definitely positive from at least an investors perspective. It will be interesting to see if Uber can grow into this valuation."

For now, Uber is the most valuable start-up among all venture backed private companies, and stacks up pretty impressively against public companies.

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There are only 15 U.S. tech companies that trade above a $40 billion market cap, according to FactSet, and their numbers include giants like Apple, Google, Facebook, Oracle and Microsoft.

"This is very rare. From your VC, tech standpoint, only Facebook has gotten this high of valuation before going public," said Adley Bowden, senior director of analysis for the venture research firm PitchBook.

But as Uber's value keeps rising, so will the pressure from investors, industry pros said.

Mounting pressure

$40 billion Uber = 4 GoPro's
$40 billion Uber = 4 GoPro's   

"Expectations are always raised as you raise more money, bring more investors in and increase the valuation like that," Bowden said. "So the margin for error definitely gets smaller. The spotlight is definitely on them. Any misstep at all, any decrease in rate of growth or anything like that they are going to be heavily scrutinized. So it absolutely does raise their entire profile."

Such a large valuation also has the potential to hurt the company when it goes public.

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Because Uber is following in Facebook's footsteps of raising large later-stage rounds instead of going public, when the company finally does go to market its valuation could take a hit.

"It definitely raises the risk. You see what happened with Facebook and others, being valued at such a large valuation definitely ups the risk of an unsuccessful IPO or one that initially comes out lower than the valuation in the private markets," Bowden said.

Another growing point of pressure that comes with more investors and more money is a push to change the company culture, experts said. Scandals involving privacy issues and shady business practices have plagued the company recently, so there may be mounting pressure to shake up management and adjust the corporate climate.

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"These investors at the end of the day are looking at financial more than anything else. And you know the cultural and political risk is factored in. But depending on the size and type of investor, they may bring some pressure on the company," Bowden said.