By Rebecca Heilweil
On Thursday, Uber released its first quarterly earnings report since the ride-share giant's bumpy initial public offering earlier this month. Share prices were momentarily stable before jumping more than 2 percent up at the beginning of trading on Friday.
Uber's metrics were about, or slightly above, what was expected ー cautiously optimistic signs for investors hoping that the company can one day reach profitability. Uber lost just over $1 billion this quarter, meeting predictions. Meanwhile, its revenues were at $3.1 billion, landing in the higher end of forecasts.
Uber's gross bookings and monthly active users are both up more than 30 percent from this time last year. The diluted net loss per share was $2.26.
"These guys really know how to do investor relations. They know they're not going to be profitable in the next couple of years, but they've said we're going to focus on it," John Jannarone, the editor and publisher of IPO-Edge, told Cheddar. "The thing about Lyft is they act like they don't even care that much."
"A flat share price response is pretty good in my book," he added.
Shares in Lyft, which went public in April, were down more than 2.5 percent at the end of trading on Thursday, though prices rebounded Friday morning.
Uber highlighted its growing consumer loyalty program, which rewards consumers for spending on rides, as well as a driver loyalty program, which allows Uber's independent contractors to access gas and car maintenance discounts and education benefits. The company is also turning its attention toward expanding its freight business, reporting that it's now worked with more than 1,000 shippers, including major brands like Land O'Lakes and Anheuser-Busch InBev.
"As a whole, the struggles to hit profitability as an entire company, I think, are really the result ofー to be honestー this pretty broken idea that has been in and around Silicon Valley for most of the last decade, which is really this mentality that 'we as a startup are going to focus on user growth, user growth, user growth, and we'll figure out how to make money, how to make profits, later,'" John Meyer, a managing partner at Transpire Ventures, told Cheddar. "I think that model is broken."
One promising sign for investors is that revenues for Uber's food delivery business, Uber Eats, has grown by 89 percent since last year. "The only reason it's really up is due to the fact that there is potential especially with the Uber Eats division, which has seen more potential than really anyone anticipated," said Meyer.
"One of the drivers behind the Uber Eats growth is actually something really innovative that Uber has been trying, and that is this idea of developing what we in the Valley are now calling 'shadow restaurants,'" he explained. "These are restaurants that are only built to power UberEats deliveries, not even a physical location that consumers can go into."
But Jannarone emphasizes that the app must build loyalty in a market where consumers are often just looking for the cheapest option. "At the end-of-day, if you're going to be irrational in making a consumer choice, it's got to be because of some kind of loyalty," Jannarone said, "I think they actually have an opportunity to develop loyalty in Eats, I just haven't seen it happen yet."
For full interview click here.