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Uber lost $8.5 billion in 2019, but it thinks it can get profitable by the end of 2020

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Q4 losses were pretty much the same as the previous quarter

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Uber reported its fourth quarter earnings on Thursday, in which it posted a net loss of $1.1 billion. It was not quite as much as the previous quarter, when it lost $1.2 billion, or as stunning as Q2, which saw Uber lose a jaw-dropping $5.2 billion in just three months.

Overall, Uber says it lost $8.5 billion in 2019 — a sign of just how steep Uber’s path to profitability will be. That said, the company says it thinks it can finally eke out a profit on an adjusted based at the end of 2020.

Of that Q4 loss of $1.1 billion, Uber says $243 million was due to stock-based compensation. The company brought in $4.1 billion in revenue over the three-month period ending in December. Gross bookings, or total customer payments to Uber before payments to drivers and other fees or discounts, grew to $18.1 billion, representing a 28 percent year-over-year growth.

Uber has been under pressure from investors to stem its enormous losses and show how it can start posting a profit. Uber and Lyft, which both went public this year, have set records for the amount of money lost in the run-up to their respective IPOs. And since going public, both companies have continued to lose money, raising questions about the long-term sustainability of app-based ride-hailing as a business. Uber had to lay off around 1,000 workers last year amid restructuring efforts.

The company is also facing enormous pressure from regulators. Uber is still struggling to comply with California’s groundbreaking new gig work law that makes it harder for the company to classify drivers as independent contractors. It also lost its license in London after regulators identified a “pattern of failures.”

Originally, Uber said it was targeting 2021 as its first profitable year. In a call with investors, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said he was challenging his employees to move the timeline for profitability up to the fourth quarter of 2020.