Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi revealed at the New York Times’ DealBook conference today that the ride-sharing company could possibly go public in 2019.
In one of his first public conversations as Uber’s chief executive, Khosrowshahi discussed how he is putting his own stamp on the company, including plans for an IPO in the next 18 to 36 months. It’s the first time the CEO has publicly declared that an IPO is on the horizon.
Khosrowshahi remarked Uber “has all the disadvantage of being a public company, with the spotlight on us, with none of the advantages,” speaking to Andrew Ross Sorkin.
Khosrowshahi shared that Uber’s entire board and former CEO Travis Kalanick agree the company should go public, despite Kalanick’s long-held position to keep Uber private.
Kalanick was replaced by Khosrowshahi in September after the former CEO stepped down from the leadership role amid sexual harassment allegations. Uber has since been embroiled in legal battles, casting a shadow on the company.
“The culture went wrong, and the governance went wrong, and the board went in a very bad direction,” Khosrowshahi said.
“After two months, I feel better about where we are now then quite frankly I was going in,” he added.
The new CEO said that he and Kalanick have a good relationship and although he told the former CEO he needed to push him away, that they speak as often as 10 times per week.
“I would be foolish not to use Travis’ incredible genius and his knowledge that was really largely responsible for getting the company to where it is now,” he said.
Khosrowshahi also confirmed that Uber is looking to close a multibillion-dollar deal with SoftBank, the Japanese multi-national that has poured millions in many North American startups through its $100-billion Vision Fund.
Uber announced yesterday its signed a deal with NASA to develop air traffic control software for its future flying taxi service, called Elevate. Although the idea for a flying fleet may sound like a pie in the sky vision, Khosrowshahi is optimistic.
“In five years you’re going to see some flying cars out there.”