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Baby, You Can Fund My Car: Uber Drives August VC

Dan Jones
9/23/2013
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Transportation app Uber grabbed a massive $258 million dollar round last month from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), one of the top financing rounds this decade for a mobile company, according to Rutberg & Co.

Rutberg revealed Monday that private companies in mobile raised $738 million in 109 venture capital deals this August in its monthly survey of the sector. So far, mobile-focused private companies have raised $5.6 billion in 716 deals in 2013. In July, mobile private companies drew in $744 million.

Here's a list of the top five earners this month:

Table 1: August Mobile VC Funding Leaders

Startup Latest funding Location Developing Backers
Uber $258M San Francisco Mobile transportation app Google
Powa Technologies $76M London Mobile point-of-sale system N/A
Fitbit $43M San Francisco Mobile fitness device Foundry Group, QUALCOMM Ventures, SAP Ventures, Softbank Capital, True Ventures
SOASTA $30M Mountain View, Calif. Mobile test & analytics software Canaan Partners, Formative Ventures, Macquarie Capital, Pelion Venture Partners, ROTH Capital
Slice $23M Palo Alto, Calif. Mobile eCommerce organizer app DCM, Innovation Endeavors, Lightspeed Venture Partners, NPD Group, Rakuten, Russia Partners
Source: Rutberg & Co.

Uber is clearly the star of the show this August. In fact, Rutberg notes that transportation apps -- and conversely fitness apps -- are raking in the dollars this year:

    The transportation app landscape is divided by geography and car/taxi segment. During January through August 2013, private companies in the subsector raised $437 million, as compared to $116 million in 2012, $76 million in 2011, and $5 million in 2010. The 2013 financings were led by Uber's $258 million, Lyft's $60 million, Hailo's $31 million, and Didi Dache's $25 million rounds. The market is early, and we are continuing to see startups emerge and receive funding in each market. We believe the network effects will drive rapidly to a few leaders in each market.

Here's where Uber fits in the top mobile funding rounds since 2001, as ranked by Rutberg:

One thing we can gauge from the chart that massive funding rounds are no sure-fire indicator of success. LightSquared is currently in bankruptcy proceedings and MVNO Helio was sold for a mere $39 million in 2008.

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— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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SarahReedy
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SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
9/23/2013 | 2:39:30 PM
Ride sharing
I love Uber and especially its slick mobile app, but I'm less convinced on the ride-sharing companies like Sidecar. Seems creepy to get a ride with strangers, although I guess cabs can be equally as creepy (although Uber takes some of that out). Sharing (bikes, cars, minutes, WiFi, etc) is a big trend now.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
9/23/2013 | 2:36:24 PM
Sweet spot app?
So, maybe, an app that calculates the longest walk to your app-sourced driver would be the sweet spot between fitness and transport apps?
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