Equity transcribed: Digging into the Uber S-1
Welcome back to this week’s transcribed edition of Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast that unpacks the numbers behind the headlines.
And because it’s another week, why not another emergency episode? This time Kate Clark and Alex Wilhelm popped in the studio an hour before they were due to record the regular episode in order to dig into the Uber S-1. Not only did they dig into it, but they did so in real-time. That’s what happens when you only have 10 minutes to get through almost 300 pages of numbers. And if it’s numbers you like, this is the episode for you.
The duo talks Uber’s profits and losses and provides context into it all. And just to prove just how juicy this ep is, Equity Shots tend to be about 15 minutes long. Not this one. There was a lot to get to. And who better to lead the conversation than Kate and Alex? So join them as they walk you through what the Uber S-1 holds.
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Kate Clark: Hello and welcome to Equity Shot. This is TechCrunch’s Kate Clark, and I’m joined today by Alex Wilhelm of Crunchbase News.
Alex Wilhelm: Hello.
Kate: We are going to tackle some breaking news. But, a warning from Alex first.
Alex: Yeah, so it’s 2:09pm here on the West Coast on Thursday, which means that the S-1 dropped, I don’t know, about 45 minutes ago, maybe an hour. And there was a lot to do before the show, but we wanna get this out as soon as we can, so we did our note dock by hand, and we got the S-1 pulled up, and we have a lot to go through. But, there may be an awkward pause in this, because we don’t have every single number pulled out ahead of time.
Kate: We are literally scrolling through the document live. We have a piece of paper taped to the wall in the studio with a very rough outline of what we’re gonna talk about. And we agreed that we’re going to try to take it slow and carry you guys through these important numbers as best we can.
Alex: Yes, and we are gonna start with yearly numbers to stay at the highest possible level, and we’re gonna talk about revenue first.
Alex: Now, keep in mind that we’re not talking about bookings, which is the total spend on Uber’s platform, we’re gonna talk about revenue, which is Uber’s portion of that overall platform spend. So, in 2014, because the S-1 goes back all the way to 2014, Uber had revenue of 495 million. That nearly quadrupled in 2015 to 1.99 billion … call it 2 billion flat. In 2016 that grew to 3.85 billion. It expanded to 7.9 billion in 2017, and 11.3 billion in 2018. So, basically a half a billion, to 11.3 billion from 2014 to 2018.
Kate: Yeah, quick reminder, a lot of these we’ve seen. I know there’s been plenty of reports highlighting Uber’s 2018 revenues of around 11 billion, but this is the first time we’re getting a full glimpse into financial history all the way back to 2014, and then also losses, which were interesting.
Alex: Very, very interesting.
Kate: I’ll quickly run through losses beginning in 2014. So, Uber lost 670 million that year, they were not profitable. The next year they lost 2.7 billion, again, not profitable. The next year they lost 370 million, guessing there was a big … oh, no, that was the year of the divestiture of … we just talked about this.
Alex: Uber China.