How Uber is Spending Money to Make Money

Uber (Photo: Dreamstime)

Uber saw revenue grow and losses shrink during the second quarter, according to financial reports. The ride-sharing service took in $12.01 billion in passenger fares and food delivery fees, which is up 41 percent from a year ago. The figure comes down to $2.7 billion after paying drivers their share. Losses were $891 million, down from more than $1 billion the same time last year.

The numbers suggest the company is getting its finances in order ahead of a potential initial public offering in 2019. Uber turned a profit in the first quarter by selling off services to competitors in Russia and Southeast Asia, but cautioned the bump was temporary since the company planned to reinvest the money.

“We had another great quarter, continuing to grow at an impressive rate for a business of our scale,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement. “Going forward, we’re deliberately investing in the future of our platform.”

Khosrowshahi stepped in as CEO after co-founder Travis Kalanick was forced out by investors a little over a year ago. Kalanick had a reputation for brash behavior that affected the company’s public image. As the internal turmoil settles, Uber is looking at new sources of revenue, including bike and scooter sharing as well as food delivery services in the Middle East and India.

Uber is valued at $62 billion, making it one of the world’s most highly valued private businesses. An IPO, expected by the end of next year, could be one of the biggest in history for a tech company.

However, there are new setbacks to deal with. New York recently passed a law that limited ride-sharing vehicles and requiring drivers to earn a minimum rate in one of the country’s biggest markets. Earlier this year, a woman was killed when hit by a self-driving Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. Testing of autonomous vehicles has been scaled back with the development of self-driving trucks halted altogether. The company was estimated to have been losing $125 to $200 million a quarter on autonomous vehicles. The expense appears to be one that Khosrowshahi is willing to set aside until after Uber goes public.

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