- Uber made its initial public offering prospectus public for the first time on Thursday.
- Among the company’s risks is a warning that its reputation may always cast a shadow on its business.
- Uber had a disastrous year in 2017 for the company after a damning blog post alleged a toxic corporate culture and eventually resulted in the resignation of founder Travis Kalanick.
The ride-hailing giant made its paperwork public for the first time on Thursday, providing us the first comprehensive look under the hood at the company’s financials, risk factors, and more. And one glaring risk factor is likely to be at the top of all investors minds.
“Maintaining and enhancing our brand and reputation is critical to our business prospects,” the company said in the filing.
It’s a fairly standard line for many companies in their risk factors, but with Uber it takes on even more importance given the company’s history of scandals that eventually led to the departure of founder and then-CEO Travis Kalanick.
“We have previously received significant media coverage and negative publicity, particularly in 2017, regarding our brand and reputation, and failure to rehabilitate our brand and reputation will cause our business to suffer,” the company said of the most high-profile scandal, ignited by the now-former employer Susan Fowler in a damning blog post about her time at Uber.
Last month, Lyft told investors in its IPO filing that it had benefitted from the very #deleteuber campaign that Uber is warning about.
“In 2017, the #DeleteUber campaign prompted hundreds of thousands of consumers to stop using our platform within days,” Uber said. “Subsequently, our reputation was further harmed when an employee published a blog post alleging, among other things, that we had a toxic culture and that certain sexual harassment and discriminatory practices occurred in our workplace.”
Uber said it plans to release a transparency report this year to address some of these prior problems, but the reactions to that could also result in a reputation hit.
“The public responses to this transparency report or similar public reporting of safety incidents claimed to have occurred on our platform, which may include disclosure of reports provided to regulators, may result in negative media coverage and increased regulatory scrutiny and could adversely affect our reputation with platform users.”
More on Uber’s IPO:
- Uber has filed to go public in what could be the biggest IPO in years
- ‘I won’t be perfect, but I will listen to you.’ Uber CEO outlines the company’s ‘enormous’ opportunity while acknowledging its turbulent past in letter to investors
- The life and rise of Travis Kalanick, Uber’s controversial billionaire co-founder and former CEO
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