Sharing Economy

Uber IPO uber-unlikely: CEO Kalanick

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Investors in Uber and staff hoping for a fast flotation from the world's biggest ride-hailing service will be disappointed, chief executive Travis Kalanick told CNBC.

In an interview set to sadden investment bankers across the globe, Kalanick told CNBC he does not expect his company to go public anytime soon.

"I'm going to make sure it happens as late as possible," said Kalanick who has raised around $10 billion dollars for the company ‎over the last 18 months.

Kalanick also told CNBC that, thanks to this fundraising, he did not currently need public capital markets and wants to hold on to the flexibility offered by private funding.

"I call it the moral obligation with investors who put money in, they need to see liquidity and of course we have employees as well who put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make Uber successful and they own equity and so have to ultimately find liquidity for all shareholders."

Asked by CNBC's Geoff Cutmore if that meant a flotation in two, three, or five years, Kalanick replied. "I'll keep you posted, I have no idea."

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With so much money chasing investment across the tech industry, Kalanick told CNBC that he thought the market had gotten to an "irrational place."

"What I like to say when you get into something that feels like a bubble or, at least, feels irrational is that you still want to build a company that has a strong discipline business building culture"

Calling an uber from the iphone application
David Ramos | Getty Images

Uber's rise has been rapid - and not without protest and controversy. Asked if the explosive growth of his company into so many markets in such a short period of time has sparked fear in authorities and established businesses, Kalanick admitted he needs to spend more time focusing on public relations.

"I'm an engineer by trade, and what engineers do is they go and build, and they don't think a lot about storytelling."

Following some early public relations missteps, including the storm surrounding a senior executive suggesting hiring researchers to "dig up dirt" on journalists, Kalanick is now putting more effort into PR.

"What I've learned as we've gotten bigger is that it's really, really important for us to take all the opportunities to tell our story, because as we grow and have a bigger impact on cities, if we don't tell our story somebody else will."

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