San Francisco:¬†Speaking at a conference in San Francisco, Uber Technologies Inc. chief executive officer Dara Khosrowshahi rattled through the company‚Äôs ambitions: food delivery, freight, autonomous vehicles and even buses and bikes.
Ultimately, Uber‚Äôs business is getting people from ‚Äúpoint A to point B,‚ÄĚ he said at a Goldman Sachs-hosted event on Wednesday. Achieving such goals means the company will continue to lose money, he acknowledged, a day after Uber reported a loss of $4.5 billion for 2017 on $7.5 billion in net revenue.
To drive home his point, Khosrowshahi compared Uber to Amazon on more than one occasion. While Amazon had almost $178 billion in sales in 2017, net income was $2.24 billion. ‚ÄúCars are to us what books are to Amazon,‚ÄĚ he said. Khosrowshahi said that by 2023, he could imagine Uber providing the entire transportation network for a city.
Uber started out as a car-booking service, but has since expanded into ride sharing and food delivery, while testing autonomous vehicles and transport of goods. The San Francisco-based company has raised approximately $19 billion in funding and has a blended valuation of $54 billion, making it the biggest venture-backed technology enterprise without a stock listing.
‚ÄúWe‚Äôre a publicly reporting private company ‚ÄĒ go figure,‚ÄĚ Khosrowshahi said. The CEO said that while he‚Äôs somewhat uncomfortable running a money-losing business after joining from profit-generating Expedia Inc., it‚Äôs the right strategy for Uber. If the ride-hailing provider were to shed its younger businesses, Uber could become profitable but it would miss out on promising opportunities, he said.
‚ÄúThe business that was handed to me was a better business than I thought,‚ÄĚ Khosrowshahi said, adding that he still needs to improve Uber‚Äôs brand. He‚Äôs been trying to ‚Äúbring peace to the kingdom,‚ÄĚ he said. Last week, Uber‚Äôs settled its trade-secrets fight with Alphabet Inc.‚Äôs self-driving car unit, Waymo. The fact that neither side was happy with the settlement was proof that it was a good deal for both sides, the CEO said. He also celebrated the governance reforms that went into effect after a financing deal with SoftBank Group Corp.
‚ÄúRather than having their capital cannon facing me, I‚Äôd rather have their capital cannon behind me,‚ÄĚ Khosrowshahi said of the Japanese telecommunications provider and tech investor. He also reiterated Uber‚Äôs interest in holding a public offering in 2019.
Uber is looking to partner with autonomous-vehicle companies, the CEO said, adding that the company is prepared to slowly integrate autonomous vehicles in its network filled with human drivers. By taking a ‚Äúhybrid approach,‚ÄĚ he predicted that Uber‚Äôs network of human drivers would only grow, even as Uber introduces autonomous vehicles.
Khosrowshahi opened the interview with Goldman Sachs President David Solomon with an audience-pleasing quip. He he joined Uber, he said, because it was a verb. ‚ÄúMy father always told me if you can run a verb, say ‚Äėyes.livemint