Uber survived its first test with Wall Street since becoming a public company, even after posting a $1.01 billion loss for the first three months of 2019.
The ride-hailing company announced its first-quarter results on Thursday afternoon, only 20 days after a disappointing public market debut on the New York Stock Exchange that saw the company's stock price drop 7.6 percent in its first trading day. Revenue in Q1 grew 20 percent year-over-year to $3.1 billion, beating analysts' estimates slightly, but falling in line with its own financial forecast listed on its IPO prospectus. Gross bookings, which track the total dollar value for rides--excluding drivers' pay and incentives--grew to $14.6 billion, up 34 percent from the same period in 2018.
In his first analyst call as the CEO of publicly traded Uber, Dara Khosrowshahi mostly stuck to a well-rehearsed message: Uber has plenty of ways to grow, just don't expect profits anytime soon. "We are pleased to report another quarter of strong growth, demonstrating the continued success of our platform strategy," he said. Monthly active platform consumers--which includes Uber Eats customers and ridesharing users--grew 33 percent year-over-year to 93 million, a figure that represents only 2 percent of the population in the 63 countries Uber operates, he noted.
"These efforts are just getting started as we penetrate into a $12 trillion total addressable market," the CEO added.
Uber's hotly anticipated initial public offering has been met with tepid enthusiasm from Wall Street investors. Its stock has fallen more than 10 percent from its $45 IPO price. Khosrowshahi, however, downplayed the IPO flop, calling it "just one moment on a much longer journey."
He also sought to temper analysts' expectations for Uber's path to profitability by stating "there isn't one silver bullet," but that the company has "many, many levers" to increase gains.
Khosrowshahi continued to emphasize Uber's long-term outlook throughout the call. "We are not in a hurry," he said in response to a question about potential acquisitions for its Uber Eats business, which is growing at a faster pace than its ridesharing unit, according to the company. "We will play a consolidating part if it makes sense for shareholders from a long-term perspective, but it's kind of a plan B," he added, stating that "plan A" is to grow organically.
Notably, the company declined to provide specific guidance for the next quarter. Uber's CFO Nelson Chai, however, said he expected margins to "improve sequentially" in the second quarter of 2019 and throughout the rest of the year.
Shares rose as much as 4 percent in after-hours trading immediately after the conference call began, signaling Khosrowshahi's efforts to win over skittish investors are at least heading in the right direction.