How has First Round Capital made out on its early bet on Uber?

Tom Paine

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Josh Kopelman as "Rider Zero" for Uber Philadelphia in 2012/Uber Blog

Earlier this year, Business Insider told a (perhaps somewhat dramatized) version of the story of how First Round Capital came to co-lead Uber's first post-seed round with $500,000 in late 2010. Of course, the connection goes back to Josh Kopelman and his colleagues knowing Uber co-founder and Chairman Garret Camp from FRC's backing of his prior startup, StumbleUpon, which was sold to Ebay for $75 million before two years later being repurchased by Camp and an investment group (including FRC) for a reported $29 million. Of course, why Ebay needed StumbleUpon in the first place is a different question, for which I'm sure there was a good rationale at the time. Camp is said to have come up with the idea for Uber after complaining about how hard it was to find a cab in San Francisco.

So after Uber's recently announced new round at a pre-money $17 billion valuation, where do the early investors stand?

That $1.5 million 2010 angel round led by FRC valued Uber at $4 million, according to Fortune Magazine. "Investors in that round," Fortune adds, "assuming reasonable dilution, saw their investments grow to between 400x and 600x in the round that valued Uber at $3.5 billion. At $17 billion, they’re worth around 2,000x, according to people familiar with the deal." FRC is listed among participants in the $11 million Series A in 2011, according to CrunchBase, but not in the megarounds that followed.

So First Round Capital's stake in Uber could easily be valued in the $1 billion range, according to this logic. Which seems a bit on the high side to me; if FRC contributed
$500,000 to the angel round with the $4 million valuation, that would theoretically have given it an eighth of its total value at the time. Its hard to believe that it still holds more than 5% of the company if it did not participate in the larger of the later rounds.

Update 3/1/17: Uber's valuation is now said to be $67 billion.

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