Let's give Uber some credit: No private company has ever burned cash at quite the clip that the world's favorite ride-hailing app does. As of the end of 2016, Uber was churning through $1 billion a quarter, which, if you ask them, makes it a “healthy and growing business.” Only lately have investors gotten wise to the fact that their money is basically being funneled directly to the riders without any profitability to show for it – Uber's private valuation has reportedly fallen some 15 percent in recent months.
But Uber isn't about to rest on its laurels just yet. On Tuesday the company announced that by 2020, it would reach the next frontier in dispensing with investor capital: flying cars.
Officials in Dallas-Fort Worth and Dubai have signed on to work with the company on testing vehicles that can take off and land vertically in their cities by 2020, Uber said at a conference in Dallas. The San Francisco company said it's partnering with a handful of aircraft manufacturers and real estate firms, as well as with ChargePoint Inc. to lay an electric charging network.
If you want to distract people from a snowballing crisis of management, you can't do a whole lot better than promising the Jetsons is just three years away. But with just $7 billion in cash on hand and $2.3 billion in lines of credit, Travis Kalanick may need to get those cars in the air a tad faster if he wants to keep his losses growing at their current, impressive clip. That or IPO – which, well, whatever.