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Don’t expect Uber to go public anytime soon, Bill Gurley says.
Gurley, a partner at Benchmark Capital and one of Uber’s most well-known board members, said the company is far from an IPO in an interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher on Recode Decode. Benchmark invested in Uber’s Series A through Series C rounds and led the $11 million Series A in 2011.
So why is Uber holding off on an IPO? Gurley says it’s because of intense competition from other ride-hailing services.
“We have a large number of competitors who are very deep-pocketed, who have decided that their primary form of competition is just price. There are intense subsidy battles going on all over world. Those companies, when they approach investors, tell them, ‘Uber’s going to go public, and then they’re going to have to be profitable, and then we’re really going to sneak up on them with these discounts.'”
Uber has long been locked in a price battle with its main US competitor, Lyft. Although Uber is said to have 80% of the ride-hailing market share in the US, both companies frequently offer heavy subsidies in an effort to woo both new drivers and passengers, and have even resorted to more nefarious tactics to beat one another. Lyft posted an operating loss of $360 million in 2015 in an effort to win market share in the US, while Uber reportedly lost a whopping $1.27 billion in the first half of 2016, in part to compete with its Chinese competitor, Didi Chuxing.
You can listen to Swisher’s full interview with Gurley – where he talks about a possible collapse of the tech bubble – over at Recode.