Business Startups

Morning Report: Quick Questions For Uber’s New CEO

Morning Report: Now that Uber has a new CEO, what will the company focus on?

News broke last night that Expedia’s now-former CEO will, officially, be Uber’s new CEO. It took a minute to get the paperwork done, and there was some last minute news for the market to digest, but Uber pulled the executive hiring off.

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Luckily, for us, there are now a number of freshly-written profiles of Uber’s new chief, Dara Khosrowshahi. You can read TechCrunch, The Verge, the Washington Post, and so forth if you need to get your brain around the new leader. (Or check the latest Equity Shot we recorded on Monday!)

But while it’s critically important for us to all understand Uber’s new CEO as best we can, it will be even more important to see the following questions answered by the newly hired executive:

  • Does Uber pursue stronger gross margin positivity at the expense of growth domestically? (The company has been both gross margin positive and negative in the United States before; recent reporting indicates it does not have higher COGS than revenue globally today.)
  • Does Uber curtail its more exotic programs to limit cash burn to help the firm chart a path to profits that public investors could find credible?
  • Does Uber double down on its self-driving car project or tack on partners in an attempt to ensure that it doesn’t lose this terrestrial space race?
  • Does Uber pursue another private round of capital–or several– or does Khosrowshahi push the firm to a material liquidity event?
  • Does Uber cede more international markets to domestic competition, akin to its prior deals in China and Russia? And if it does, can Uber still grow into its valuation as part operating company, part holding company?
  • Does Uber make real progress on course-correcting its culture, or does the firm under Khosrowshahi put other efforts first?

We could go on and on.

All this is to show that for Uber, a company that sported $1.75 billion in net (adjusted) revenue in the last quarter, bringing on a new CEO doesn’t answer as many questions as one might have hoped. Instead, it highlights how many question marks were simply deferred until Uber finally did hire a new leader.

Now we wait.

From The Crunchbase Daily:

Uber finalizes CEO hire

  • It’s official. Uber confirmed that Expedia’s Dara Khosrowshahi will be the ride-hailing giant’s next CEO. Uber founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick sent out a statement saying he “couldn’t be happier to pass the torch.”

Toyota joins Grab mega-round

  • Toyota is the latest investor to join ride-hailing startup Grab’s massive financing round, which is expected to bring in a total of $2.5 billion from all participants. Didi Chuxing and SoftBank previously disclosed that they are leading the round.

Kik to raise $125M in ICO

  • Messaging app company Kik revealed that it plans to raise $125 million via its initial coin offering (ICO), which will create a new cryptocurrency called Kin. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company previously raised about $120 million in venture funding.

Blue states dominate startup funding

  • Political maps dividing the U.S. into blue, Democrat-leaning regions and red, Republican-leaning ones also reflect a trend in venture capital funding. Blue states unfailingly account for around 80 percent of deals every year, according to a Crunchbase News analysis. It helps that the top three states for startup funding – California, New York and Massachusetts – are solidly blue.

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