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Uber posts $1bn loss in first quarterly report since disappointing IPO

Tyrone Stewart

Uber self-driving carsUber has released its first-ever quarterly financial report since its unconvincing debut as public company, posting a big loss of over $1bn for the first quarter of 2019.

The ride-hailing firm has seen its monthly active users grow from 70m in the first quarter of 2018 to 93m in Q1 2019 – a 33 per cent increase. These customers helped the company to a quarterly revenue of $3.1bn, which is 20 per cent higher than the year prior.

“Earlier this month, we took the important step of becoming a public company, and we are now focused on executing our strategy to become a one-stop shop for local transportation and commerce,” said Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. “In the first quarter, engagement across our platform was higher than ever, with an average of 17m trips per day and an annualised gross bookings run-rate of $59bn.”

Despite the strong revenue showing, one which exceeded Wall Street expectations, it is spending heavily to hold off the stiff competition posed by rivals such as Lyft. This has seen it invest in loyalty and rewards programs for both riders and drivers, while it continues to invest self-driving vehicles. There’s also the problem of it having to invest in adhering to changing local regulations and its legal battles with workers.

As such, Uber’s big loss wasn’t actually much of a surprise and fell firmly inline with Wall Street’s expectations.

The firm also has its Eats and Freight businesses to keep an eye on. Uber Eats revenue reached $536m in Q1 2019, almost doubling from the $283m recorded the year prior. And the food delivery business is where the company sees huge potential for growth, even thinking that the possibility it could one day overtake its ride-hailing business “would be an enormous win”. Meanwhile, the freight business has “contracted with over 36,000 carriers with more than 400,00 drivers and served over 1,000 shippers” since its launch a year and a half ago.

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