SAN FRANCISCO — Uber, the ride-hailing pioneer, is set to go public on Friday with a valuation of around $82 billion, in the most highly valued stock introduction in years. But Uber says its real strength isn’t in being a taxi alternative. Instead, it is its ability to apply its vast data trove and routing software to rewrite how goods and people move from one place to another, using computer algorithms to remove what tech sees as inefficiencies in the world.
Uber’s biggest competitor isn’t rival ride-hailing service Lyft, analysts say, but Amazon, which moves goods all over the world. It has budding businesses such as freight forwarding, food and even package delivery. And that’s why it could be worth more than twice as much as Ford Motor Co., or nearly four times as much as Fiat Chrysler, on Uber’s first day of trading. Uber said late Thursday that it plans to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange at $45 per share, giving the company a valuation at the low end of its anticipated $80 to $90 billion range.
But there are questions about whether Uber can execute its vision. For one thing, it hasn’t yet been able to solve the problem of food arriving cold upon delivery.