Mobile car-hailing service Uber sparked another round of bubble talk when its valuation hit $18.2 billion in June following a $1.6 billion round of funding from a wide range of investors including mutual fund giant However, unlike the dot-com bubble, companies such as Zynga and Groupon with poor fundamentals are getting beat up in the public markets.
Uber is the most highly valued private startup, sitting atop the Journal’s growing Billion Dollar Startup Club. It’s followed by another controversial “sharing-economy” standout , Airbnb, as well as document-sharing app Dropbox and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, each valued at $10 billion. It’s an understatement to say that memories of the late-90s tech bubble and the subsequent housing bubble remain fresh in investors’ minds. Aggressive easing by the Fed and other major central banks has been seen to lift asset prices. So it’s no surprise that shocking valuations are sparking fears of another bubble. As the Journal noted, at $18 billion, Uber’s valuation is roughly equal to car-rental companies Hertz and Avis, while Airbnb’s $10 billion valuation outstrips Hyatt Hotels.