Cab hailing giant Uber recently released the draft papers of its IPO, following rival Lyft, which went public just a few weeks back. With Uber targeting a valuation of about $100 billion, a rare feat if it achieves it, the IPO will pave way for the future of other tech startups as well. Tech investor and finance expert Eric Schiffer, CEO of the US-based Patriarch Organization, talks to Financial Express Online about Uber IPO, the merit of its offering to its buyers, competition from Lyft and the company’s future prospects. Here are edited excerpts of his conversation with Prachi Gupta:
Uber’s valuation was earlier expected to be higher than $100 billion. What do you think may have resulted in the now reported valuation?
They have learned from the Lyft valuation debacle and priced the IPO conservatively.
Do you think it will be a profitable enterprise for the buyers?
Profitability is years away and hinges in part on autonomous vehicles. Anyone who is betting on this technology happening in the next 2-3 years is better off lighting their money on fire and roasting marshmallows.
The California law will eviscerate any future hope of profits coming from the golden state. It will not exclude Uber and lawmakers are not going to plan on giving them a way out of the law which classifies their drivers as employees. The impact of the legislation adds close to 30% more costs to their drivers here and crushes the daylight on future margins.
With California setting many national trends investors should be highly careful about the “trend” moving across America and its impact on Uber’s future valuation.
Uber’s rival Lyft had received a flat response. How do you think will Uber IPO fare? What will its impact be on Lyft? Will the Lyft stocks remain tepid?
Initial pop and more stable than Lyft because they will have ensured the investment bankers are supporting it far more than was done with Lyft.
Reports have been saying that the Uber IPO will be a bellwether for other tech startups. Why do you think this will be the case and how will it impact future IPOs?
Yes, and it will encourage more future tech IPO’s by virtue of it not crashing.
Where do you see the company heading in the near future?
They will further diversify revenue and enter more product variants and channels.
Uber has filed its IPO with a warning that it may not earn at all. What is it trying to do here? I mean, is it trying to ward off the investors with such disclaimers? Why would investors still buy shares with Uber saying there is not much for you?
It’s a legal requirement given the facts with their business and it helps to attract investors that are looking 1-3 years out. Also, it’s a dual strategy. Uber has the legal disclosure requirement given the colossal uphill margin march, but it also helps to bring stability to their investor base by attracting investors looking 1-3 years out and flushing out those not sharing that vision.