The chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc. says the company is still planning to forge ahead with an initial public offering in the second half of 2019.
“At this point, it’s all systems go,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, who joined Uber as CEO in August 2017 after co-founder Travis Kalanick was ousted from the top job, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang Thursday.
Khosrowshahi was in Toronto Thursday to announce a new engineering hub and the expansion of its already-existing self-driving centre.
In terms of what investors need to see for a successful IPO, Khosrowshahi told BNN Bloomberg is a path to profitability,
“When you look at our business, there are many different segments: there’s a ride segment, which is our most mature segment, and I think we’ll be able to demonstrate within the rides business a path to profitability continuing to increase our contribution margin,” he said.
Uber is currently valued at more than US$70 billion, but Khosrowshahi said he tries to not get too caught up in the numbers.
“What I’ve got to work on is making sure that we attract the best engineers, best product folks to build out terrific technology,” he said. “Really, it’s the talent of the company, and the strategy of the company – and the valuation will take care of itself.”
Uber has expanded beyond its ride business in recent years, with food delivery service Uber Eats, which Khosrowshahi noted as the company’s fastest-growing area, as well as e-bikes, which holds a lot of growth potential but is not expected to be profitable any time soon.
“The market pays for growth,” Khosrowshahi said.
‘A new set of cultural norms’
Khosrowshahi took helm of the company when the Uber’s culture was under intense scrutiny after a series of public relation crises, including sexual misconduct allegations that ultimately led to the resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick.
But since stepping into the CEO role, Khosrowshahi said he’s made safety a top priority for the company.
“The fact is the management here that built this company, that founded this company, certainty made their mistakes,” Khosrowshahi said. “But they build a great company. And I get to take that to the next stage, and that requires change and it can be tough sometimes.”
“I think the cultural work never ends,” Khosrowshahi added. “One of the first things that we did was we set a new set of cultural norms – one of the most important is always do the right thing.”
“I think we’re on the right path as a company now,” he said. “And I think we’re going to have more good days ahead of us than bad days.”