February 6, 2020
Uber: 'The era of growth at all costs is over.'
After previously pledging to turn his company profitable by 2021, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi accelerated Uber's target and said it would be EBITDA profitable by the end of this year.
- "It's not a single lever that's going to get us there," Khosrowshahi said on the company's earnings call. Even after a year of belt-tightening, Uber lost $1.1 billion last quarter. Uber will have to continue fine-tuning its business and lower its investment in areas that aren't working, along the lines of its sale of Uber Eats India to Zomato in December.
- That (coming-soon) profitability comes with an asterisk: Uber is assuming that the environment won't change dramatically this year — not a given, considering its regulatory challenges and food delivery competition.
- Khosrowshahi didn't mince words about Uber's response to AB 5. "AB 5 in general for a number of contractors has created a huge amount of uncertainty." Uber's product changes were to make it clear about its position, he said, but "short-term, it's been a net negative for riders."
- Khosrowshahi said drivers have liked the recent AB 5-related product changes — though some drivers told Protocol's Levi Sumagaysay otherwise. Khosrowshahi admitted there's a lot left to do: "Service levels to riders have gotten worse," he said, and "prices in California have gone up more than anywhere else in the country."
- And stay tuned: Khosrowshahi said "2020 will be the year of subscriptions for Uber." He's especially bullish on getting people to sign up for ride passes.