Legendary startup investor Fred Wilson passed on Uber when it was worth $300 million

Fred wilson
Fred Wilson Flickr/Lachlan Hardy

You can’t get them all right.

Fred Wilson, one of the world’s best startup investors, had the chance to invest in Uber during its $300 million series B round but passed.

That’s according to Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, who mentioned the rejection in passing on an interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box Wednesday morning.

“First of all, he doesn’t have money in Uber,” Kalanick said of Wilson. “He passed on the Series B, if I remember correctly… When the valuation was $300 million. Just putting that out there.”

Wilson, who invested in a now GM-owned Uber competitor Sidecar, replied on Twitter, “He is correct about that.”

Kalanick’s comment was in reference to Wilson’s demands for Uber to quit “wimping out” and go public.

“Man up! Woman up! F—— do it! Don’t be chicken!” Wilson said at an LA tech conference in February. “He’s wimping out. That should be a publicly traded company.”

Part of the issue with Uber remaining private is that it’s burning through billions and not returning money to investors, who have poured about $8 billion into it over the past five years. The company is spending about $1 billion in China alone, which it justifies by saying the burn-rate is offset by other profitable markets.

“When you take money from me, am I getting money from you?” Wilson said. “You have a responsibility to give me my money back sometime. You can’t just say f— you. Take the g—— company public.”

Uber’s last round of financing valued the startup at $62.5 billion.

Wilson isn’t the only big-name investor who looked at Uber early on and passed. Netscape co-founder and A16Z partner Marc Andreessen had the chance to invest in Uber at a $375 million valuation in late 2011 and passed. Andreessen reportedly thought the valuation was too rich at the time, and he later invested in Uber competitor Lyft.

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