Two charts that show why Uber’s valuation isn’t ridiculous

Uber’s latest funding brings the company into the stratosphere of private company valuations.

At $40 billion, Uber is believed to be four times more valuable than Airbnb, Snapchat, Palantir or Dropbox. Its valuation is eight times larger than Pinterest’s, fifty-seven times larger than Lyft’s, 100 times larger than Instacart’s.

The news sent the tech world into a tizzy. People called Uber’s new valuation eye-popping, ridiculous, absurd. Just like Uber’s last round of funding, it was heralded as proof of a bubble, an upcoming crash, the tech apocalypse, etc.

[dataset id=”898119″]

But when you plot Uber’s valuation compared to big public tech companies, it looks less dramatic. [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Facebook[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company], [company]Amazon[/company], [company]Oracle[/company] and others are — as you’d expect from mature companies — much larger by market cap than Uber’s current valuation. Twitter is much smaller. Investors are essentially saying that they think Uber will be nearly as valuable as [company]Yahoo[/company] or [company]eBay[/company] and more valuable than Twitter when it goes public. It’s not a totally outlandish conclusion for them to bet on, given current tech hype and market trends.

Uber’s staggering valuation says more about the changing nature of tech fundraising than it does about Uber investors’ ridiculousness. Companies are staying private longer, choosing to develop their product outside of the prying public market’s eyes. Uber is leading that trend, a pioneer for a new kind of growth model.

Without much precedent, it’s hard to know what Uber’s eventual IPO will look like. It has more money and time to hone its business, so it’s not entirely fair to compare is to the IPOs of yesteryear and call its valuation outsized. We’re playing by a new set of rules.

[dataset id=”898108″]

There’s another way to look at Uber’s valuation. CEO Travis Kalanick isn’t content for his company to remain a car-hailing app. He plans to move into urban logistics and shipping, doing everything from delivering food to transporting supplies. When Uber drops off kittens on National Cat Day, it’s not just a publicity stunt — it’s logistics testing.

On that note, perhaps Uber should be compared to public transportation, logistics and automotive corporations. Companies like [company]Ford[/company] and [company]Tesla[/company] are distant cousins to Uber, but given that Kalanick wants Uber to replace car ownership, they may be competitors down the line. The same goes for [company]FedEx[/company] and [company]UPS[/company].

Uber’s valuation puts it at less than half the market cap of UPS, but close to the market cap of FedEx ($51 billion). From an automotive standpoint, the numbers are even more optimistic, with Ford and [company]General Motors[/company]’ market caps not that much bigger than Uber’s valuation. Tesla and Hertz’s market caps, $29 billion and $11 billion respectively, are smaller than Uber’s $40 billion valuation.

Uber’s investors are essentially saying that they think when the company goes public, it will be worth at least half as much as GM and Ford and more than Tesla and Hertz.

[dataset id=”898118″]

Even Palantir can’t ignore the cult of simplicity

Palantir has a customer base that pays for results, but the company nonetheless attributes puts a lot of effort into user experience. In June, it re-architected its database simplicity in mind; on Thursday, it acquired a startup doing drag-and-drop mobile app development.

Palantir: The worst-kept $9B secret in Silicon Valley

Quasi-secret intelligence-software startup Palantir is reportedly in the process of raising more than $100 million at a $9 billion valuation. That says a lot about the value of its technology, which isn’t cloud-based or consumerized, but does what it does very well.

This might be the best thing anyone can do with data

After hearing about the applications of big data for better ads, song recommendations and social media analysis, nothing makes me happier than hearing about technologists coming together with non-profits to use data to fight human trafficking.

As Sandy strikes, another big data opportunity emerges

Sandy is certainly living up to its promise as a destructive force, but it’s also serving as a teaching tool for companies whose business is big data. They’re releasing new dashboards, products and case studies demonstrating how data analysis before can save lives and money later.

RelateIQ: A hush, hush data-savvy startup

Data is a hot topic among the startup community, which is why stealthy startup RelateIQ has a bunch of people excited about its product and plans. The startup has some big data street cred with executives from Palantir and LinkedIn’s former data scientist DJ Patil involved.