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Travis Kalanick Says Don’t Expect an Uber IPO For a Very Long Time

June 9, 2016, 11:47 AM UTC
DLD15 conference Munich - "It's only the beginning"  - January 1
MUNICH/GERMANY - JANUARY 18: Travis Kalanick (Uber) attends the Chairmen's Dinner during the Digital Life Design (DLD) Conference at the Residenz on January 18, 2015 in Munich, Germany. DLD is a global network on innovation, digitization, science and culture which connects business, creative and social leaders, opinion-formers and influencers for crossover conversation and inspiration. (Photo: picture alliance / Robert Schlesinger)/picture alliance Photo by: Robert Schlesinger/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images
Photograph by Robert Schlesinger

Uber investors may have to wait a while before they get any money out of the ride-hailing giant.

Speaking at the Axel Springer NOAH Berlin tech conference, CEO Travis Kalanick made it clear that he was avoiding a big-time investor “exit”—an IPO—like the plague, according to Business Insider.

After arriving at the tech show with Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche in a yellow-and-black Trabant (an East German car once named by TIME as one of the 50 Worst Cars of all Time) driven by Kai Diekmann, the editor and publisher of the German daily Bild, Kalanick gave a keynote, Business Insider reports, and then got down to disabusing investors of IPO dreams.

When Diekmann asked Kalanick if Uber investors are pestering him about a public offering, the CEO admitted that, yes, they did sometimes. But he didn’t give them hope for a big payday.

“What I say is we have an obligation to ultimately find liquidity for the investors. But more importantly we have thousands of employees that own stock [who gave] their blood, sweat, and tears to make Uber a great company,” Kalanick said, according to Business Insider. “I say we are going to IPO as late as humanly possible. It’ll be one day before my employees and significant others come to my office with pitchforks and torches. We will IPO the day before that. Do you get it?”

For one thing, he said, employees at public companies wasted an inordinate amount of time checking on their money.

“If you can keep your employees from refreshing every 10 minutes to see what the stock price is, your company is going to be more geared towards the future and move faster,” Kalanick said.

When pressed on an approximate pitchfork timeframe, Krannick hemmed and hawed, and referred to his previous reply. He finally relented, sort of, when Diekmann asked him for a rough estimate.

“It’s going to be,” he said, “somewhere between one year and 10.”


Although he didn’t want to give a date, Kalanick has reason to want to talk about money, now that Uber has a valuation of some $62 billion (not far short of that of Daimler) instead of other issues. Uber has recently been accused of playing dirty in an antitrust case; Sen. Elizabeth Warren has suggested the company undermines the economic safety net for U.S. workers. And Fortune‘s Dan Primack recently took Uber to task for taking a $3.5 billion investment from Saudi Arabia, a country that doesn’t allow women to drive.