Investors have allocated over $2 billion in venture dollars this year to consumer transportation companies, from giants like Uber and Lyft to more narrowly-focused startups like Shuddle, the so-called “Uber for Kids,” and FlightCar, the airport car rental marketplace.

The $1.2 billion dollar round raised by Uber in June knocks the yearly investment total for 2014 out of the park, but the number of rounds seen by car-sharing and taxi-hailing apps has been relatively steady over the past four years.

Following the first substantial funding rounds for Uber and Lyft in 2010, consumer transportation exploded into a global phenomenon, as investors sought to back the “Uber” of every region.

Many of the most active investors in the space failed to recognize the potential of the two U.S. giants early on and have since set their sights on a handful of international companies, seeking to translate the Uber model into various regional plays.

Sequoia leads the charge, backing 7 consumer transportation startups – not a single one of which is based in the U.S.

Accel holds a steady second place, with 5 transportation-related companies under its wing.

These two Silicon Valley giants have backed many of the top-funded ride-hailing startups outside of the U.S., including front-runner Olacabs that is rumored to be valued at over $1 billion.

China’s Didi-Dache, France’s BlaBlaCar, and Hailo out of London follow behind, with over or close to $100 million in funding to date.

Uber has set a high bar, leading the pack of Unicorn startups with a most recent valuation of $18.2 billion. But with a slew of larger funding rounds rolling in for transportation startups over the past few quarters, it appears the race for the next consumer transportation Unicorn is on.

Photo via Flickr user Gisela Giardino.

  • Originally published November 4, 2014, updated April 26, 2023