Uber has a new CEO and he wasted no time in talking about IPO prospects.
Addressing employees at a company meeting today, Dara Khosrowshahi, who recently had the top job at public company Expedia, said that Uber could IPO as soon as 18 months. He also said it could take up to 36 months (three years), but that the timing wasn’t finalized. This means the IPO would happen in 2019 or 2020.
Khosrowshahi was offered the job on Sunday and the company formally announced that he accepted on Tuesday.
The role had been vacant since former CEO Travis Kalanick stepped down in June, following months of negative publicity and allegations of law-breaking and a sexist company culture.
Uber’s IPO timing is significant. The $68 billion valuation is just paper money until a liquidity event. While there has been some secondary market trading, Uber has had very strict rules about this for years, although the company recently talked about changing them. Following an IPO, it will be easier for employees and companies to cash out.
Startups have been staying private longer because it has become easier for late-stage businesses to raise private capital and also because several of the more high-profile tech IPOs have struggled. Recently Snap and Blue Apron have seen shares fall and others like Twitter have seen volatile rides in the public markets.