Marcus Wohlsen:

Uber just became one of the most valuable tech startups in history.
 Co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick announced today that investors are pouring another $1.2 billion into Uber in a funding round that values the five-year-old company at $17 billion. Though nine and 10-figure deals have become common enough in Silicon Valley to seem almost normal, the news may leave many people out in the real world scratching their heads. Does Uber–an app-ified version of the cab business–really need that much money?
 Given the scope of Uber’s ambition, it just might.
 Kalanick doesn’t just want to give you a ride when you don’t have your car. He wants you to give up your car, period. “Our vision is to offer a way for people to get around cities without having to drive a car,” Kalanick told Bloomberg Businessweek. “If you can make it economical for people to get out of their cars, or sell their cars, and turn transportation into a service, it’s a pretty big deal.”