CEO Dara Khosrowshahi says Uber is heading for a 2019 IPO

31 May 2018

Dara Khosrowshahi attending a conference at the École polytechnique. Image: J Barande/École polytechnique/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Uber boss Khosrowshahi says the company is on track to go public next year.

Dara Khosrowshahi appeared on CNBC on 30 May to discuss Uber’s future, and he stated that the company’s balance sheet is “very strong”.

The CEO added that Uber was in a comfortable enough position to go public in 2019. “Lots of things can happen in the world, but we have a reasonable buffer as well, so I think we’re in a pretty good spot.”

Khosrowshahi later specified that the company was looking at the latter half of 2019 as a potential timeframe for the IPO, though Uber has yet to start interviewing banks about its plans.

He added that an Amazon-like future is what he envisions for the company, noting that Uber’s food delivery service, Uber Eats, is growing rapidly.

Big ambitions

A world where Uber is the platform for a myriad of transportation services is another of Khosrowshahi’s lofty goals. “Whether it’s taking a car, whether it’s taking a pooled car, whether it’s taking a bike, whether you should walk, or even now we want to build out the capability for you to take a bus or subway. We want to be the A-to-B platform for transportation.”

It has not been a banner period for Uber’s reputation lately and Khosrowshahi was keen to stress that it is a now different firm under his leadership, in comparison to when former CEO Travis Kalanick was at the helm. He added that the company had “turned over a new leaf”, emphasising his wish to do the “right thing”.

Uber and Waymo working together?

While speaking at the Code Conference, the CEO also revealed that Uber and Waymo were in talks to collaborate on self-driving strategy following their convoluted legal battle over trade secrets. Describing Waymo as “incredible technology providers”, Khosrowshahi said Uber was discussing the potential addition of Waymo self-driving cars to its network.

“Autonomous will be shared. That will be fundamental to the technology. If it’s shared, you want to have the highest utilisation rates possible.

“Owning or being a part of the largest ride-share network on a global basis will enable you to get the highest utilisation out of your autonomous cars.”

Following a fatal accident involving an Uber self-driving vehicle in March, Uber’s self-driving plans were put on pause, but the CEO said the company hopes to get its autonomous vehicles back on the road by the summer of this year.

Dara Khosrowshahi attending a conference at the École polytechnique. Image: J Barande/École polytechnique/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects