Uber’s rapid growth accompanied by rapid losses

According to a set of internal financial documents – covering 2013-2014 – obtained by Gawker, Uber is hemorrhaging cash, and has been operating at a loss for at least the last few quarters. This alone is hardly alarming, many of the largest tech companies barely turn a profit, but it is significant in that this is the first time the public has been made aware of the losses. The news comes just days after Uber raised a round of close $1 billion, on a valuation north of $51 billion. 1

The documents give a little insight into the growth of the $51 billion company. While Uber is growing at an astronomical rate, its losses are growing at nearly the same rate. According to Sam Biddle of Gawker:

Uber’s net revenue has grown substantially, the company lost more than $56 million in 2013. By the first half of 2014 alone, that number had leapt to more than $160 million…Another document, laying out quarterly profits and losses in 2012 and part of 2013, shows the same dynamic: healthy growth in revenue coupled with steadily deepening losses. In 2012, Uber’s losses totaled $20.4 million; from the first quarter of 2012 until mid-2013, quarterly losses more than doubled from $3.5 million to $8.1 million.2

To be clear, the documents are significant in that this is the first time the public is hearing about them. In terms of long-term ramifications, or projections, these losses are hardly significant. With the amount of money that Uber has in reserves, it would take decades or more of similar losses to affect the company significantly.

Check out Sam Biddle’s excellent write up and see the document over on Gawker.

  1. Douglas MacMillan and Telis Demos, The Wall Street Journal, “Uber Valued at More Than $50 Billion,” 31 July 2015  
  2. Sam Biddle, Gawker, Here Are the Internal Documents that Prove Uber Is a Money Loser,” 5 August 2015