Uber Eats grew like hell in Q1 but Uber still lost nearly $3B

Alex Wilhelm
A man stands in front of a logo of Uber during launch of a campaign ParksNotParking in Mumbai, India on 23 June 2019. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the ills of growing congestion and pollution in cities and urges people to convert parking areas into parks. (Photo by Himanshu Bhatt/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Ahead of its earnings report today, shares of Uber rose around 11%, buoyed by a set of financial results and promises about the future from Lyft that were rated highly by investors. That optimism lapped over the edges onto Uber.

Today after the bell, however, the global ride-hailing giant reported its own financial results. Analysts had anticipated a loss of $0.83 per share against $3.54 billion in revenue, though top line estimates varied from $2.31 billion to $4.33 billion -- an unusually large range driven by COVID-19-led uncertainty.

Uber reported a Q1 per-share loss of $1.70 and revenues of $3.54 billion, making for a mixed set of results when compared to expectations. The company lost a staggering $2.94 billion in the quarter counting all costs, a figure that even for Uber feels excessively large.

Here are the key numbers from Uber's earnings report, starting with platform spend and working our way down to profitability and how much cash the firm was left with at the end of Q1 2020:

  • Gross bookings (the value of goods and services sold on Uber's platform) rose 8% compared to Q1 2019 to $15.8 billion.
  • Ride-hailing gross bookings fell some, while Uber's food delivery service saw gross sales growth of 54%.
  • Uber's revenue grew 14% from $3.1 billion to $3.54 billion in the quarter on a year-over-year basis.
  • Uber's net loss of $2.94 billion was worse than its other profit metrics, including its adjusted EBITDA for the quarter which came to a loss of$612 million. (Recall that it is adjusted EBITDA that Uber had previously promised to push into positive territory in Q4 of this year before COVID-19 upended its market.)
  • Uber wrapped Q1 with $9 billion in cash and equivalents, and the firm's operations burned $463 million in cash in the first quarter.

Got all of that? The headline from Uber's quarter is that its ride-hailing business shrank and Uber Eats, its food delivery service, grew like hell. Here are the numbers for the latter:

  • Gross bookings of $4.68 billion, up from $3.07 billion in the year-ago quarter, or 52%
  • GAAP revenue of $819 million, up from $536 million in the year-ago quarter, or 53%
  • Adjusted net revenue of $527 million, up from $239 million in the year-ago quarter, or 121%
  • Resulting adjusted EBITDA of a $313 million loss, worse than its year-ago result of $309 million

This is mostly bullish. Huge bookings gains are good, big GAAP revenue gains are good, the adjusted net revenue gains are very good, and, for Uber, not losing more money as it scales -- heavily adjusted losses for Uber Eats were effectively flat on a year-over-year basis -- is good.

The company will need to lose less money over all, however, as its business is struggling more in Q2 than it did in Q1. We'll know more during its impending earnings call.

Uber about 14% of its staff this week, and led an investment in Lime, a scooter company into which it intends to offload its own micromobility efforts.

Shares of Uber are off about 2% in after-hours trading. More shortly from its call.