The 25-year startup: Uber
Uber just collected a quarter billion dollar investment. That is just incredible. In an age where I thought Color was over capitalized with only a $40 million investment this probably looks absolutely insane to many people.
But Uber is the best executing company, er, startup, I have ever seen. In Paris, the drivers love it. In Sydney they love it. Etc etc. As I've traveled I've seen how both customers and employees love this company. It is amazing how fast it has grown around the world. This is a company that didn't exist before 2010. Amazingly fast growth around the world.
Yet there is a LOT of execution risk. In Vancouver it has been banned. In London Hailo has done a better job of taking over that great city.
That's what this money is for: to help them take over the world as quickly as possible. This is what happens when you execute. You get investors excited.
But that takes us to why I think this is one of the most interesting startups: it is a startup that's playing a 25 year game.
Well, in about a decade people like me will be getting self-driving cars. They will not be accepted at first by the mainstream. Lots of car companies have already done the surveys to figure out why: we like to drive. It's especially a deep problem for males: we equate driving to our masculinity.
In about 25 years our culture will have changed. For a whole lot of reasons. But I can see how Uber will become one of the world's most important transportation brands and how it could introduce driverless cars to the world.
See, you won't own a driverless car. It will just come to you. You'll own a piece of a fleet. I can see how Uber will let you order a driverless car for less money than if you choose to have a driver come to you.
For many people Uber could be their first experience in a driverless car.
I've met a few Uber drivers who said the service has already let them hire several other drivers and own a fleet of cars. These new entrepreneurs will see the advantage of the driverless fleet first.
Google's VCs can see this new future, because they are thinking of a contextual world where services know your patterns through life and serve you (Google Now, for instance, along with Google Glass, which was code-named "Wingman" for its potential ability to assist you in living your life).
In 25 years no one will remember the quarter billion dollars invested. But they will use their wearable computers to call up their Uber cars.
If this company executes over the next 25 years as it has in the past three, it will be one of the world's greatest brands up there with Apple, Nike, Coke, etc.
I am all in!