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

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

adamjones 8/1/2016 | 8:46:17 AM
Re: Uber Uber taxi business is taking care of different issues for customer and cab drivers. The booking service increase number of taxi service provider like uber with an app. Now days making an app is really important to stand in a market. The increasing demand for cab has initiated uber to expand its business worldwide.
Sarah Thomas 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 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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