A difficult time ahead for Uber?

By Crispin Heath on Wednesday, 21 December 2016

After their self-driving cars were ordered off the streets of San Francisco and the company admitted a safety issue with the way their autonomous cars cross bike lanes, news comes that Uber lost $2.2bn in the first nine months of the year.

Does this signal a troubling 2017 for the taxi-hailing app?

It certainly seems that Uber is going through a period of profound change as it moves from disruptor to sector stalwart.

With legislators catching up with the company, growth has slowed, particularly in China where it agreed to abandon its business in exchange for a stake in local rival Didi.

Likewise, other countries are forcing stricter employment regulations on the company. But, even after paying drivers, Uber’s revenue was $1.7bn in the third quarter, up from $1.1bn in the second. In fact, revenues have surged from $3.76bn to $5.5bn over the first nine months of the year.

So, while technological and legislative restrictions may be impeding overall growth, the demand by customers for Uber’s core services is only increasing.

It will be interesting to see other disruptors undergo similar journeys in the next year as governmental regulation, consumer demand and technological innovation jostle to impact on performance.

We’ll be keeping a particularly close eye on how fintechs will negotiate their own regulatory gauntlet as the FCA seeks to encourage growth without inspiring outright disruption.

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