I'll tell a tale. I worked as a CSR-like role (that means customer service representative, to cut the jargon), albeit indirectly, with Uber. I have an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) that's pretty strict, so some of the following language has been sanitized. There's a local office in the city that I may or may not currently live in which has a lot of drivers and a good relationship with the airport, meaning that it's a relatively 'old' city by their book. 'Old', of course, means that they've cut rates a few times, and they have a lot of customers. I worked in-house dealing with driver side issues, ranging from payment issues, compensation for cleaning costs, and on-boarding.
It was New Years Eve, 2015 and we had an office party. There were two 4K monitors in the main part of the office. One was displaying an internal application that showed every online driver represented by a car; if they were moving to pick someone up, it was highlighted red; if they were currently carrying a passenger, it was highlighted green. There were also red dots on the screen that represented every person in the city viewing the app on their phone.
The other monitor was displaying a global view, and it was a data visualization of the total number of rides serviced during the course of the night. There was a countdown to 1,000,000 rides that completed before I left, hours before midnight. There was a dateline that progressed from the easternmost side of the map to the westernmost. Each major city that the company operates in had a circle with the center pinpointed at the location of the city. Every time a transaction ran, the bubble would increase in size. NYC took up a good third of the eastern seaboard, and major cities in China were likewise gigantic. Western Europe has its fair share of heavyweights as well.
And it was amazing. The most interesting thing about Uber and where it stands compared with other private, highly valuated, companies. Ref: http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/21659745-silicon-valley-should-be-celebrated-its-insularity-risks-backlash-empire-geeks
But staying private has risks, too. One is that firms under no obligation to make public a full set of audited accounts will remain veiled from the scrutiny of analysts and short-sellers and so act irresponsibly. America’s tech “unicorns”—firms that have reached a valuation of more than $1 billion—are worth around $300 billion between them. The danger that some of this capital is being misallocated is high.