December 21, 2016

Uber's Massive Cash Burn Problem: 2016 Loss Set To Hit A Record $3 Billion

With a valuation of $68 billion as of December 2016 - more than GM and Twitter combined - Uber is, according to the WSJ's Unicorn Database, the most valuable private company in the world.

And yet, despite its eye-popping valuation courtesy of a growth curve which until recently was truly unprecedented (at least until the company's sudden withdrawals from China), Uber has a big problem: an unprecedented cash burn, which if not getting worse with every passing quarter, is certainly not getting better.

Back in August, Bloomberg reported that Uber's first half loss was roughly $1.4 billion ($580MM in Q1 and well over $800MM in Q2) on just over $2 billion in revenue ($960MM in Q1 and $1.1BN in Q2): it was burning approximately $1.6 dollars in costs and overhead (mostly in the form of an ongoing attempt to price the competition out of business by subsidizing drivers using VC cash).

This follows a loss of $2 billion in 2015, and had, as of Q2, lost at least $4 billion in the history of the company. Of this, however, Uber reportedly lost at least $2 billion in China as a result of a failed attempt to penetrate the local market which it abandoned later in the summer, which while sapping growth potential in China, also supposedly stem losses associated with the Chinese market.

Furthermore, the H1 loss came at a time when its fortunes in the US were said to be changing, and the company vowed it was turning a profit in Q1, only to revert back to its money losing ways in Q2 and onward.

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