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The world's most valuable startup is losing money hand over fist

But Uber says that’s all ‘old news’.

An anti-Uber slogan in Paris last from June.
An anti-Uber slogan in Paris last from June.
Image: AP Photo/Bertrand Combaldieu

UBER, THE WORLD’S most valuable venture-backed company, has been chewing through its very-sizable pile of cash.

In figures leaked to Gawker, it was revealed the company lost $160 million in the first six months of 2014, compared to a total loss of $56 million for 2013.

However the documents also showed the amount the company was taking in was climbing skywards. The company’s CEO Travis Kalanick last year told the Wall Street Journal Uber’s revenue was more than doubling every six months.

The confidential documents show the company’s total income was $104 million in 2013, while the sum was $102 million in just the first half of 2014.

Uber was valued at over $50 billion by its backers on the latest investment round, when nearly $1 billion more was pumped into the company.

Institute of Directors annual conference - London Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Source: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive

No alarms, no surprises

The fact the six-year-old San Francisco company is making a loss is hardly a shock – publicly-listed companies like Twitter and Amazon have been in the red for years.

But the leaked numbers do show the extent to which Uber has been burning through cash to fuel its expansion, which has included setting up a “centre of excellence” in Limerick with 150 staff before the end of the year.

“Shock, horror, Uber makes a loss,” the company said in a statement to Business Insider.

This is hardly news and old news at that. It’s the case of business 101: you raise money, you invest money, you grow (hopefully), you make a profit and that generates a return for investors.”

The car-sharing and taxi-booking app has come under fire on both sides of the Atlantic amid protests it puts licensed taxis out of business and risks passenger safety.

A report yesterday from the LA Times revealed four Uber drivers who had been ticketed for minor offences already had criminal records that would block them from getting a regular taxi licence.

Their convictions included manslaughter, child exploitation and identity theft, court records showed. It follows incidents overseas like the alleged rape of a woman in India by an Uber driver.

Uber Safety Anti-Uber protesters in India last year. Source: AP Photo/Tsering Topgyal, File

In a statement to Mashable, Uber said: ”While no system is 100%, we believe our background checks stack up well against others.”

In Ireland Uber is effectively blocked from running its most lucrative and controversial car-sharing service by laws which ban anyone but licensed taxi drivers taking money for lifts.

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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