Uber today announced it has raised a whopping $1.2 billion from “top tier institutional investors, mutual funds, private equity and venture capital partners.” The new funding round values the company at around $17 billion, and Uber expects the total amount raised to be $1.4 billion once a second batch of investors are finalized.

Uber’s private car hire service has made quite an impression since it debuted four years ago. The ability to call up a car and pay with a smartphone app was hardly new, but Uber’s broad selection of vehicles, location-tracking features and premium customer experience certainly set it apart.

In recent times, Uber has faced growing resistance from traditional taxi operators though; London’s transport authority has referred an issue over taximeters to the High Court and uberPOP, the company’s peer-to-peer ride-sharing service, was banned in Belgium two months ago.

Nevertheless, Uber is now operating in 37 countries around the world – including 128 cities – and says its service is responsible for the creation of 20,000 new jobs every month. “This ‘Uber’ way of life is really a reflection of our mission to turn ground transportation into a seamless service and to enable a transportation alternative in cities that makes car ownership a thing of the past,” CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick said in a blog post.

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Uber [Blog Post]

Featured image credit: PAUL J. RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images