Uber is a wildly unprofitable company with no conceivable path to profitability in any universe, under any circumstances, but the company's founders and early investors (having already taken massive write-downs on their investments) are hoping to get at least some of their money back through the time-honored "greater fool" methodology. Specifically, they're floating the company on the stock market and hoping that naive investors hoping to wring above-inflation gains out of their 401(k)s and avoid being made into dog-food in their old age (we're waaaaay past the era in which impoverished old people get to eat dog-food) take their shares off their hands.
The prospectus for the IPO is 300 grifty pages long, an entire spaghetti dinner of possible profitability strategies thrown at the wall in the hopes that a few strands will stick. Buried page 160, under the "Total Addressable Market," is a plan to eliminate the world's public transit systems and replace them with "Uber Bus" and "Express Pool." The company estimates that if the world's public transit riders all switch to Uber, they'll be able to serve an 11.9 trillion miles/year market.
But they still won't be profitable.
Which doesn't mean we shouldn't be worried! Uber has a lot of cash sloshing around (there are a lot of "greater fools" sitting on piles of unproductive capital, thanks to the global shift to the unproductive financial sector at the expense of the productive real economy) and they've demonstrated an unlimited appetite for pouring their investors' money into ambitious policy entrepreneurship aimed at destroying any potential impediment to total dominance of mobility (taxis, taxi unions, regulation, etc).
That’s right: The “market” for Uber includes all of the passengers who now take public transportation.
We estimate that our TAM comprised 11.9 trillion miles in 175 countries in 2017. As detailed in the table below, this estimate includes both vehicle miles and public transportation miles. Our TAM is based on 7.5 trillion vehicle miles. We derive the number of vehicle miles in our TAM by multiplying the number of passenger cars in each country, based on third-party data, by our country-level estimates of miles traveled per car, based on 2018 reports from the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the International Road Federation (©IRF World Road Statistics). Our TAM also includes an estimated 4.4 trillion public transportation miles.
Here’s where you get the real point:
Increasing Ridesharing penetration in existing markets. Our large addressable market opportunity means that with approximately 26 billion miles traveled on our platform in 2018, we have only reached a less than 1% penetration of miles traveled in trips under 30 miles in the 63 countries in which we operate. We believe we can continue to grow the number of trips taken with our Ridesharing products and replace personal vehicle ownership and usage and public transportation one use case at a time, including through continued investment in our affordable Ridesharing options, such as Uber Bus and Express POOL.
Uber’s plans include attacking public transit [Tim Redmond/48 Hills]