The Key Numbers From Uber’s Q1

Uber disclosed a grip of numbers regarding its Q1 financial performance to a number of publications yesterday. Each reported a slightly different set of figures, so we’ve collated the key metrics into a single post for you.

Notably, not every publication that shipped new Uber numbers agrees with its cohort, so we’ll approach this in small bites. This post will serve as another in our running series collecting Uber’s operational results that it will eventually spin into an S-1. Someday.

So we’ll start with revenue, move to profit, and then cover the exotics.

Gross And Net Revenue

Uber has two key revenue metrics: gross bookings and net revenue. Gross bookings is the total value of services facilitated through the company’s platform. Net revenue is the slice of that pie that Uber gets to claim as its own.

On the gross front, there is agreement that Uber drove $11.3 billion in commerce during the quarter. The Information indicates that Uber Eats made up around 13 percent of that total or around $1.5 billion.

How far the $11.3 result rose compared to the year-ago Q1 is in dispute. Recode puts Q1’17 gross bookings at $7.3 billion, while TechCrunch has Q1’17 gross bookings pegged at $7.5 billion. Regardless, the company’s gross result was billions and billions greater than it was a year ago, just under 55 percent higher from the $7.3 billion figure.

Regarding net revenue, there are two numbers on offer. Uber’s Q1’18 net revenue is pegged at $2.5 billion by CNBC and others. TechCrunch has $2.6 billion written down.

Either way, the figures are up from the preceding quarter’s results: $11.055 billion in gross bookings and $2.22 billion in net revenue. (Some publications have Uber’s Q4’17 gross bookings listed at $10.8 billion, as this game apparently has infinite innings.)

Now let’s see how much Uber lost in the first quarter.

Various Profit Metrics

Uber reports profitability across a few metrics including adjusted EBITDA, operating EBIT, adjusted net loss, and net loss. I’ve listed those in what I think is the correct order from loose to strict, though I would happily entertain an argument that adjusted EBITDA could be stricter than operating EBIT in some circumstances.

Regardless, here we’re going to let everyone speak for themselves as wording matters. So we’ll start with our friends at TechCrunch:

The fundraising development comes at the same time that Uber is also releasing its Q1 financials — which indicate that the company pulled in $2.5 billion in net revenues, with a net loss of $601 million, and negative EBIDTA of $304 million on a pro forma basis. […]

Uber’s $304 million losses, meanwhile, were about half the amount they were last year: in Q1 2017, Uber’s adjusted losses were $597 million.

And here’s The Information:

 Uber’s operations lost $400 million before interest and taxes, down from a loss of $700 million a year earlier.

Next up is CNBC:

Uber said its adjusted EBITDA loss narrowed 49 percent year-over-year to $304 million, down from $597 million a year ago. Adjusted net loss was $577 million for the quarter. Those numbers exclude a $3 billion first quarter gain from the sale of its Southeast Asian business to rival Grab as well as its business merger in Russia with Yandex.Taxi.

By now you are starting to realize how much muddle we’ll have to wade through. But let’s get Recode into the mix as well:

Excluding gains from Uber’s deals with Yandex in Russia and Grab in Southeast Asia, the company lost about $480 million, down from $1.1 billion in losses in the previous quarter and $800 million in the first quarter of 2017.

Returning to our list of profit options (adjusted EBITDA, operating EBIT, adjusted net loss, and net loss) we can find the following numbers for each: -$304 million, -$400 million, -$577 million, and -$601 million.

You can pick your own favorite from the mix. But given the flexibility of Uber’s losses depending on which prism you view them through, how is the firm doing on the cash-on-hand front? Well, as you can imagine, it depends.

Other, Ends, Odds, Etc.

TechCrunch notes that Uber wrapped the first quarter with $6.3 billion in gross cash. The Information reports that Uber closed Q1’18 “with $4.7 billion in cash,” a figure that doesn’t include restricted cash. The gap implies that Uber has $1.6 billion in restricted cash.

How has that changed from before? Sticking with The Information for the sake of continuity, the publication’s previous reporting indicated that Uber’s Q4’17 left with the following set of cash metrics:

Uber did not disclose full-year cash burn, also known as negative free cash flow, though its cash on hand dropped to $4.5 billion at the end of 2017 from $6.3 billion at the end of 2016. […] (A big chunk of Uber’s cash—$1.15 billion at Dec. 31—is required to remain on the balance sheet, due to potential insurance claims.)

So regardless of whether that $4.5 billion figure is gross or not, Uber’s cash supply is up from the sequentially preceding quarter. Good job, Uber.


Uber’s headlines seem to be pretty similar to where they were. Its gross bookings are growing the company is working to extract more revenue from its core business, Uber Eats is rapidly expanding, the firm remains deeply unprofitable, highly valued, and cash-hungry.

I would have thought that Uber sharing more numbers would have led to a bit more clarity than it has, but at least all of the above is indicative that Uber is moving in the right direction, even if it is probably still a reasonable jaunt from being IPO ready.

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