Editor's Note: This story has been updated as of June 21, 2017, when CEO Travis Kalanick resigned. The New York Times reported on June 21 that five of Uber's major investors demanded Kalanick step down. Original story follows…
There's no set date for the inevitable Uber IPO, but anxious investors still want to know, "What is the Uber stock symbol?"
There is no Uber stock symbol because CEO Travis Kalanick has not set an Uber IPO date.
Stock symbols are only issued when a stock is ready to go public. That means lead underwriters have to be in place. Kalanick told Business Insider last June he would delay an Uber IPO as long as humanly possible. He gave a time frame from one to 10 years.
When Uber does go public, it will choose something close to its name to keep brand identification. Right now, the stock symbol UBER is available.
While there is no Uber IPO date yet, investors are excited to buy Uber stock because when it goes public, Uber could be valued at over $66 billion. And following a large valuation, large profits could follow.
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But just because Uber has a lofty valuation, you shouldn't buy Uber stock just because of hype. That's why today we're going to provide you with everything you need to know about Uber.
We'll start with how Uber was formed and why it's so popular...
What Is Uber?
The company was founded in 2009 by Garrett Camp and Travis Kalanick. It was originally called UberCab.
Uber operates like a taxi service. But what makes Uber unique is it doesn't own any vehicles.
Uber hires independent contractors who use their own cars. People who want a ride use the Uber app on their smartphones, and their location is transferred to drivers. The drivers choose whether they want to accept a ride request.
The drivers are paid through the app, and Uber earns a 20% commission on each ride. The drivers keep the rest. But the drivers have to cover the cost of gas, maintenance, and tolls.
Because Uber doesn't have the costs of traditional transportation services, it's helped revenue skyrocket.
And the skyrocketing revenue is one of the reasons why Uber has a massive valuation...
How Much Is Uber Worth?
In 2014, Uber booked more than $495 million in revenue. In Q2 2016, revenue climbed to $1.1 billion. And one of Uber's sources of such growth has been businesspeople using the ride-hailing service over traditional transportation services.
In the first quarter of 2014, businesspeople used Uber just 9% of the time. They used taxis 52% of the time, and rental cars 39% of the time.
Just one year later, businesspeople used Uber 29% of the time. Taxi use had dropped to 35%. Roughly 36% used rental cars.
This massive revenue has helped Uber's valuation reach $66 billion at the beginning of 2016, according to CNBC.
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Uber still needs more money to grow its business, which is why it will inevitably have an IPO.
That brings us to the most important question: Should I buy Uber stock?
Should I Buy Uber Stock?
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What Happened to Uber?
Investors need to be cautious before purchasing Uber stock because IPOs are risky.
IPOs are first offered to institutional investors (banks, brokerages) and wealthy individuals (hedge funds). They can buy shares cheaper before the stock is open to retail investors.
That means your upside is limited when the stock is available to the public.
In a recent IPO, for example, technology company Twilio Inc. (NYSE: TWLO) sold shares to insiders for $15 per share. When it opened to the public on June 23, retail investors had to pay $23.99 per share.
Money Morning Chief Investment Strategist Keith Fitz-Gerald says that the IPO process is flawed. He also says private investors don't take the same risks as retail investors after the IPO.
"There isn't an investment banker on the planet who gives a damn about whether or not the investing public makes a dime on the IPO. Your sole purpose is to guarantee that they get their capital first," Fitz-Gerald said on Nov. 21.
Buying Uber stock is a speculative investment right now. But if you believe in the long-term growth of the company, we have a strategy for investing in Uber stock.