Uber was supposed to disrupt the existing, entrenched taxi industry in countries around the world and redefine ridesharing, benefiting both customers and the environment with lower costs and fewer trips travel via the ride-hailing revolution.
From the start, Uber’s business model was based on achieving market dominance. The company massively subsidized (and still does) customers’ rides to make its offering seem more appealing than those of other providers. In theory, when Uber achieved scale and had put the rest of the market out of business, the company would be able to raise prices and generate a profit.
- Didi, SoftBank Back Grab To Take On Uber in Southeast
- VC Investors Go Activists In Uber; Amazon's Acquisition .
- Uber burned through almost as much money as NASA
- Uber Lost More That Hundred Million Dollars In The Year ...
This hasn't happened. The company reported a loss of around $3 billion last year and $708 million in the first quarter. Still, the company has room to maneuver with an estimated $7 billion in cash at the end of the first quarter and revenue of $3 billion in the three-month period, up 18% quarter-on-quarter.
However, it seems that some of the company's investors are starting to doubt whether or not the firm deserves its lofty valuation.
Ride-Hailing Firm's Valuation Falls
According to the Wall Street Journal, at least for mutual funds have marked down their investment in Uber by as much as 15%, reflecting the deteriorating sentiment towards the company. According to the latest disclosure documents, the Vanguard Group, Principal, and Hartford Funds all marked down the value of their stake by 15% for the quarter ended June 30. Meanwhile, T. Rowe Price Group Inc. cut the estimated price of its shares by 12%.
Uber is facing fire from all directions. As the company struggles with a wave of senior level defections, money is pouring into rivals such as Lyft and other international players. According to Reuters, at the beginning of this month DiDi Chuxing, China's largest ride-hailing firm, has invested in Middle East online taxi service Careem following a similar investment in Estonian-based ride-hailing firm Taxify to help it to expand in Europe. These two deals follow a significant $2.5 billion investment with Softbank in major Southeast Asia taxi player Grab.
As well as increasing international competition, the Wall Street Journal has reported that Uber is planning to wind down its US sub prime car leasing division to stem unsustainably high losses. Reportedly, the leasing division had been estimating modest losses of around $500 per auto on average, but the figures are closer to $9,000.
Amid these problems, there have also been rumors that Benchmark, an early investor in the ride hailing giant, was looking to sell its shares to Japan's SoftBank at a valuation of between $40 billion and $45 billion a drop of more than 40% from the peak valuation of $68 billion.