Video | 00:30 Rethinking Transportation to Drive Mobility

A couple out on their first date emerge late from a chic new restaurant in a remote neighborhood in a city. It could be London, Paris, or New York—any city, really—where they walk in the spring breeze, summer heat, autumn rain, or winter snow, trying desperately to hail a ride after public transportation has shut down for the night.

Elsewhere, a recent college graduate searches online for a job, or a professional recently out of work wonders what comes next. Both have bills to pay and the keys to a car.

Not long ago, these two halves of a modern-day equation would never meet. But because of Uber, it’s possible for one of the couple to pull out her smartphone, open an app—and five minutes later, the driver pulls up in his car. Mobility gets us where we want and need to go together, whether that is a physical place or the next work opportunity. It’s very much a modern, shared invention, and many of us are along for the ride.

Uber is taking this journey to the next level, via something as simple as an app that connects riders with drivers, that leverages the infrastructure of the old economy (roads and cars), while tapping the power of the new economy (GPS, the internet, smartphones and mobile pay). It’s both as simple as an app and as complex as mapping people to machines to networks, connected all around the world. ”We’re offering a real alternative to a world that looks like a parking lot and moves like a traffic jam—a new mode of transportation that complements and improves the system we have today,” says CEO Travis Kalanick, who with Garrett Camp conceived the idea to “push a button and get a ride” one snowy evening stranded on the streets of Paris.1

Since 2008, Uber has expanded from a handful of cars and drivers in one city (San Francisco) to over 450 cities2, enabling more than a million drivers3 to make more than three million trips each day4. “This is our ultimate vision for the future: smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access; transportation that’s safer, cheaper, and more reliable; transportation that creates more economic opportunities for drivers,” Kalanick says5. That’s a lot of ground to cover, and it’s made possible by vision and imagination—and millions of lines of code in perpetual motion.

It also requires capital. In the past few years, Morgan Stanley has helped Uber raise significant funds—by tapping multiple pools of capital, from equity to debt financings, and accessing many varieties of markets and investors across the world, including private equity and sovereign institutions, as well as mutual funds and individual investors. In capital markets, too, mobility is an invaluable asset, and a good navigator is the best kind of partner.

That kind of funding can help Uber continue to add to its already substantial scale, expand into new markets, and shift into the next technological gear. Mobility is not just about getting from point A to point B. It’s also about the people you move along the way.

The article republished here was written and edited by Morgan Stanley and originally appeared on


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