The Montgomery Burns of tech companies, Uber, revealed their 2017 first quarter earnings Wednesday, and lost $708 million says the San Francisco Business Times. But that’s “actually good by Uber standards” according to Fortune, because the cash-burning machine of a rideshare platform lost $991 million in the fourth quarter of 2016. So things are definitely looking up?
Uber, of course, is not a public company (yet) and therefore not required to disclose their quarterly earnings. These are financials that were disclosed to the Wall Street Journal in an article that is behind a paywall, though other outlets like the New York Times have verified them. And Uber seems to be getting into the habit of leaking quite-possibly accurate quarterly numbers, because the company is rumored to be scheming an IPO in the not-too distant future at which point such disclosures would become mandatory.
But that ride just became more difficult to hail, because Uber’s top financial officer has resigned. According to Recode, head financial exec Gautam Gupta is “leaving to join a startup.” Pair that with this week’s firing of self-driving car VP Anthony Levandowski and resignation of their New York general manager, and you’ll notice a pattern of Uber losing top-tier executives like they lose hundreds of millions per quarter.
And that’s before we even get to the sexual harassment controversy firings, as Eric Holder’s investigation is expected to drop next week and has employees already on edge and hiring personal attorneys. Meanwhile, the Google-Alphabet-Waymo-Angels of Anaheim self-driving car lawsuit proceeds along diligently and may blow into a criminal matter now that a U.S. Attorney is looking into whether Uber broke the law by stealing trade secrets.
Still up is down, left is right, and losing $708 million is great news for Uber. “These results demonstrate that our business remains healthy and resilient as we focus on improving our culture, management and relationship with drivers,” a company spokesperson said in a statement. “The narrowing of our losses in the first quarter puts us on a good trajectory towards profitability.”
Related: Not Surprisingly, UberPool Has Been A Major Loss Leader