Uber CEO and cofounder Travis Kalanick has amassed a huge net worth thanks to the success of the ride-hailing company, now valued at $69 billion.
But Kalanick says he’s not living the high life just yet. In fact, he says he has yet to take anything off the table by cashing out shares.
“A lot of people don’t know, I’ve never sold a single Uber share,” Kalanick told the crowd at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit on Wednesday.
He noted that he is still paying the mortgage on his house.
Kalanick shared some stats about the ride-hailing company, which ranks as one of the most richly valued private tech companies and is considered a top IPO candidate by Wall Street.
Uber now has 40 million monthly active paying riders around the world, and that it pays its drivers between $1.5 billion and $2 billion each month, according to Kalanick.
Uber’s meteoric rise since its founding in 2009 has faced a challenge in China, a huge potential market from which Uber recently pulled back.
Kalanick acknowledged the difficulty of learning business in China, where the government is actively involved in business. “You have to be humble,” he said, and almost learn how to be Chinese, or “you’ll get your ass handed to you.”
But he defended Uber’s deal with Chinese rival Didi, in which the company merged its Chinese operations with Didi in exchange for a 20% stake in the company.
“We invested $2 billion, and it’s very clear it’s worth at least 7, maybe even 10…that’s a good return in 2 years’ time,” Kalanick said.
Some of the conversation focused on Uber’s new push into self-driving cars, and it sounds as if Uber is still figuring out how they’ll operate. For instance, in response to a question about how a rider would take the wheel in case of a navigation system failure, Kalanick said “Who says there’ll be a wheel?” Similarly, he hinted that Uber isn’t planning to own and operate the fleet of self-driving cars, but would probably lease or sell them to drivers, as it leases regular cars to drivers today.
Kalanick also said that he no longer has a working car – his car’s in the garage with a broken alternator – and an expired driver’s license.