Uber CEO Travis Kalanick says that the on-demand car service is “nowhere near” going public, despite raising more than $US5 billion total with a current valuation of $US50+ billion.
“We’re maturing as a company, but we’re still like eighth graders,” Kalanick said on stage at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference. “We’re in junior high. And someone’s telling us we need to go to the prom. But it’s a little early. Give us a few years. Give us a little time.”
Earlier in the conference, famed investor Bill Gurley said that the worst advice Silicon Valley ever received was to stay private longer. Kalanick says that although he’s received pressure from both Gurley and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the timing isn’t right yet.
(“It took Facebook a long time to go public, but once they did, Zuck has become a huge proponent — is it misery enjoys company?” Kalanick joked.)
For now, Uber isn’t having any trouble raising money.
“In years and decades past, you’d go public for that last slug of capital to get to market,” he said. “And the dynamics have changed. There’s a lot of money in the private markets. So that part of going public is no longer there. We feel good about where we are. We feel good about the future. We’re just not ready for that kind of event.”
Kalanick did concede that although he personally hasn’t sold a single share in the company, he knows that some employees will be calling for a way to turn their equity into cash. Uber employees and their significant others, Kalanick adds, will come with their “pitchforks and torches” and demand that they have some way to get a payout. “Some sort” of liquidity event will happen, he says.
But, the IPO is still a while off:
“We’re just nowhere near it right now.”