Uber was chosen by Crunchie as the 2014 Best Overall Startup during the 8th Annual Crunchies Award in San Francisco, California on February 5. Hosted by TechCrunch and VentureBeat, the Crunchies Awards is a yearly competition and awarding ceremony so that the year’s tech innovations and compelling startups are recognized and celebrated. The selection of winners also involves the Internet community which was invited to vote for their favorite finalists online.
Uber taxi company and transport network proved to have a notable year as the Best Overall Startup awardee, beating GoPro camera makers, SnapChat photo messaging app, Stripe Internet transaction and Tinder match-making creators. Launched in 2010, the company has a speedy rise, currently making reliable and affordable transportation in more than 250 cities all over the world.
It was last year that the taxi firm had fully established its global force. Thus, when Uber was awarded as the 2014 Best Overall Startup, some were not surprised.
The competition for the award was not easy though: GoPro launched various new products, Stripe doubled its valuation and Tinder showed a continuous monumental growth despite losing its CEO who is facing a sexual harassment suit.
Snapchat raised new funding, with a monetization strategy as well as new features, justifying its $10 billion valuation. It landed second to Uber.
The company, which Travis Kalanick and Garret Camp founded, raised two huge fundings, a $2.6 billion total for the firm to have a $40 billion value. Most significantly, it transformed its image and built fresh relationships. The firm launched an API so that from several third-party apps, users can hail its cars on-demand. David Plouffe, political strategist and Obama’s campaign manager in 2008, also joined the firm.
However, 2014 was not an all-easy ride for the transportation company. Aside from usual skirmishes it faced with local lawmakers, some scandals surfaced that gave it a bad image.
Nevertheless, Uber still showed growth, with no signs of slowing down. In fact, while others think Uber takes Sidecar and Lyft as its huge competitors, CEO Kalanick thinks otherwise.
Kalanick expressed his belief through Twitter that the company will compete with car dealers as they want to drive it to affordability, even more convenient and inexpensive than owning a car. They intend to make Uber cars highly-utilized and efficient.
The Uber top executive answered a reporter’s question if the firm would still be having low rates even with few rivals. He said the company will not grow with inexpensive car ownership.
Uber is indeed showing unstoppable growth. Arguably, they deserved the 2014 Best Overall Startup Award. The transport company has already disclosed it might consider driverless cars, for people who do not like drivers. It also launched a ride-sharing service called UberPool, for more affordable rides with split fares, which is ideal for long distance trips.
By Judith Aparri
Photo courtesy of Joakim Formo – Flickr License