HONG KONG (StartName) – TPG Capital founding partner David Bonderman said governments should stop legislating against Uber, the online for-hire car application which has run into multiple disputes with cab drivers and regulators in the United States and Europe.
San Francisco-based Uber, which is backed by TPG [TPG.UL], raised $1.2 billion from mutual funds and other investors in a June funding round, which valued the service at $18.2 billion at the time. Uber faces an array of regulatory and legal challenges, however, as it seeks to expand into new markets.
“Governments should stay out of the way. Uber doesn’t need government help particularly, but it doesn’t need government interference,” said Bonderman in response to an audience question about whether governments should support the business, at the annual SuperReturn private equity conference.
Four-year-old Uber, which allows users to summon taxi-like services on their smartphones, has faced down regulatory scrutiny and court injunctions from its early days, even as it has expanded rapidly into roughly 150 cities around the world.
A U.S. judge this month rejected a bid by Uber to dismiss a civil lawsuit that accuses the company of charging customers a 20 percent driver gratuity but pocketing most of the additional revenue instead.
In Germany, also this month, a judge overturned a temporary injunction against Uber. Taxi Deutschland had sought the injunction as part of a civil lawsuit to bar the company’s ride-sharing service.
Such skirmishes with taxi operators and local authorities have shadowed Uber in many cities where it operates, starting in its home base of San Francisco. Active in 43 countries, Uber so far has only pulled out of one city – Vancouver, Canada.
“Uber disintermediates the taxi industry and the taxi industry has its political clout in various places,” said Bonderman at the conference in Hong Kong on Wednesday.
He added that he believes such disputes will be resolved over time.
(Reporting by Stephen Aldred; Editing by Ryan Woo)