Fri, Jun 02, 2017 - Page 10 News List

Uber head of finance exits as revenue hits US$3.4bn


Uber Technologies Inc’s revenue increased to US$3.4 billion in the first quarter of this year and losses narrowed, even as hundreds of thousands of people deleted the company’s ride-hailing app from their smartphones.

The company also said its head of finance, Gautam Gupta, is leaving.

Gupta, who has long served as de facto chief financial officer even though he never earned the title, helped oversee investor calls and run the finance team.

However, there had been persistent questions from employees and investors about whether he had the experience to lead Uber through an eventual initial public offering.

Uber said it is searching for a true chief financial officer who can woo Wall Street.

Uber has faced a number of public-relations crises this year. The hashtag #DeleteUber trended on Twitter as users removed the application from their smartphones in protest of the company’s ties to US President Donald Trump.

Chief executive officer Travis Kalanick left Trump’s business advisory board in response.

Then, after Bloomberg published a video of Kalanick arguing with an Uber driver, the embattled chief executive officer said he would seek leadership help.

The company is searching for a chief operating officer and fending off a lawsuit from Alphabet Inc over driverless-car technology.

The San Francisco-based start-up’s first-quarter loss was US$708 million, shrinking from a US$991 million loss in the previous period.

The company’s ability to boost revenue and narrow losses even amid the customer protests reflects the global nature of its business — most of the app deletions took place in the US.

Uber, valued at US$69 billion, has raised more than US$15 billion in funding in its seven-year history.

Uber said it has US$7.2 billion of cash on hand.

In the fourth quarter, the company generated US$6.9 billion in gross bookings and US$2.9 billion in net revenue. For all of last year, Uber’s global losses, excluding its China business, totaled US$2.8 billion.

The company lost at least another US$1 billion in China last year.

Uber reports net revenue using generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP), but the calculation has drawbacks: For its carpool service and in cities where it uses upfront pricing, the company records the entire fare as revenue instead of just the amount Uber keeps from drivers.

Uber’s non-GAAP revenue is significantly lower. In the fourth quarter, Uber generated US$1.4 billion in non-GAAP net revenue.

Last quarter, non-GAAP revenue grew to US$1.5 billion.

Meanwhile, GAAP revenue grew much more quickly to US$3.4 billion in the first quarter from US$2.9 billion in the previous quarter.

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