“Scale is the primary driver toward profitability,” says Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “It’s getting big. We’ve got over a billion rides per quarter and we’ve got trips growing at 35 percent on a year on year basis. It’s a combination of growing top-line over 35 percent, technology innovation to delight the customer and take costs down at the same time, and then good old fashioned efficiency, making sure that our corporate costs don’t grow as fast as our revenue. All of those together give you a formula to get to profitability.”
Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc., discusses how Uber can continue to be transformational and ultimately be profitable in an interview on Bloomberg Technology:
Uber Can Continue To Be Transformational
We have resolved all of the governance conflicts that the company had. There were many legal issues that the company was involved with. We have SoftBank as a partner and you want SoftBank to be behind you and a big partner and a big investor. We have a great investor base. We’ve taken the company public and company’s revenue, gross bookings, have grown 75 percent since I joined. We now have a path to profitability. So while we’ve had bumps on the road, and every adventure has bumps on the road, I like where we are. I especially like the position we are in now for the next two years.
I think Uber (can continue to be transformational over the next decade). Really what Uber has done is brought transportation and opportunity at this point to what we believe is just a small segment of the population. We’ve got over four million driver-partners all over the world which is a huge number. It is unparalleled. But we want Uber to be available to everybody. What we are doing now is going into the next step of introducing other transportation choices to Uber. We’ve always gone with pool, but for example, we are testing busses in Cairo now to even bring the price of Uber down to the next level, a dollar or a buck fifty, etc.
The Rideshare Business Itself Is Turning Quite Profitable
We are introducing bikes and scooters for personal electric mobility. Essentially, anyway that you want to get around your city we are going to be there for you. It will be mostly Uber goods but we will also have other third parties such as transit, such as one of our partners Lime as well. Any way that you want to get around we want Uber to be there. And if you want food, if you want even local commerce which I think we will power or even Uber Eats or some of our other services will be there for you as well.
If you look at our rideshare business, it covered our overhead less than about $100 million. The rideshare business itself is turning quite profitable. We believe that the profits in the rideshare business are not only going to grow top-line but we believe we are going to grow the bottom-line as well. Then there are other businesses, Eats, autonomous, freight, etc. These are extraordinary opportunities that we are funding. I do believe that we are going to prove to our investors that we can take on a serial basis big parts of our business, turn them profitable, and use those parts of our business to fund investments in other areas.
Our Formula To Profitability
I’m very confident that Uber can be profitable. I think the losses that we reported, it was a $5 billion loss from an accounting perspective. If you live in an accounting world that’s a big loss. I live in the real world. Actually, in the real world or EBITDA losses of $656 million were lower than Q1 and were on a good path in terms of our EBITDA losses as well. None of this is going to be easy. All of this is going to take great execution from all of our teams, marketing, technology, etc. We are going to be demanding our employees to be doing even more with less and to execute incredibly effectively in order for us to grow the top-line and the bottom-line as well.
Scale (is the primary driver toward profitability). It’s getting big. We’ve got over a billion rides per quarter and we’ve got trips growing at 35 percent on a year on year basis. We think we can use technology to be much more efficient. For example, instead of you now having to email a call center agent or call a call center agent if you have issues, you can just do it in the app. These are technology innovations that allow customers to have a better experience and at the same time they bring down costs. It’s a combination of growing top-line over 35 percent, technology innovation to delight the customer and take costs down at the same time, and then good old fashioned efficiency, making sure that our corporate costs don’t grow as fast as our revenue. All of those together give you a formula to get to profitability.