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All the alternative data you need to know about Uber as it goes public

9 months ago by Jon Marino in Markets

UPDATE: Our graph about Facebook Followers was mislabled, as it actually showed LinkedIn followers. Subscribers who clicked on the graph were correctly pointed to the LinkedIn dataset. We relabeled the graph and regret the error.

Uber ($UBER) may be the most hotly anticipated IPO of 2019 - although it is heading to the New York Stock Exchange Friday May 9 in a turbulent market, and at a time when its biggest competitor's offering has struggled. 

Investors can infer a good deal about a company's performance and prospects from the data we access via sites like Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB), Twitter ($NYSE:TWTR) and corporate job postings. Here, we have five charts that explain the company's past, as well as its ambitions. Once focused solely on ridesharing, the Uber of tomorrow will operate multiple business lines, and will begin competing with companies that for a long time thought they might be immune to the "Uber for X." 

Uber isn't getting the same amount of attention on Facebook (and, boy, is that a good thing)

The biggest ridesharing company on the planet is still getting tens of thousands of daily mentions on Facebook, according to our Talking About Count, which measures sentiment for specific brands on the world's largest social network. That figure is down - way, way down - from when Uber social mentions peaked. 

Lucky for Uber. The reason consumers aren't spending as much time talking about Uber now, as it heads for its IPO, is because in 2017 a growing chorus of criticism reached a thundering crescendo of people across social networks screaming "#DeleteUber!" as the company rightly faced critics on worldwide for the behavior and management of now-deposed CEO Travis Kalanick, as well as a number of his direct reports who took their charismatic leader's "Always be hustlin'" ethos far too seriously. Too much attention can be a bad thing. 

Uber is - fortunately - keeping a steady pace of LinkedIn followers

Uber admitted it lost hundreds of thousands of users thanks to its #DeleteUber debacle. But, it sounds like professionals weren't actually unfollowing it, especially on the job platform website LinkedIn.

Our LinkedIn Follower count reveals steady growth in social - and substantially greater than Uber's relatively scandal-free competitor, Lyft ($NASDAQ:LYFT). Since the beginning of 2016, our data shows Uber followers have increased three-fold, from 333,000 to 1 million people today. Lyft was at a similar follower count in 2016 (326,000) - but that number has less than doubled, to 628,000 as of our last count.

Here's what we chalk the discrepancy up to: Uber also operates in more than 600 cities worldwide, to Lyft's 350. Advantage, Uber. 

Uber aims to continue its growth trajectory

Uber is focused on continuing its growth trajectory in as many places as possible - by car, scooter, freight, takeout delivery; you name it. Today, job postings for Community Operations and City Launch operations jobs outnumber other key roles, like Engineering and Sales. Uber operates in more cities than Lyft, and that differentiator could be key not just with investors - but with analysts, as well. 

Uber is slimming down - for now, at least

We pointed out earlier this week, many soon-to-be-public IPO darlings are inclined to trim down job postings as they get ready to make a big market debut. Uber is no different - but its ambition to not just grow, but to take on new business lines, could change that soon. 

Uber is getting hungry for takeout

The food delivery space is getting crowded with competitors out to eat GrubHub's ($NYSE:GRUB) lunch, in a manner of speaking. From UberEATS to Postmates ($POSTMATES) to Caviar ($CAVIAR), companies are out to dethrone the long-time takeout titan that made its market debut more than 5 years ago. And, in part thanks to Uber's brand ubiquity, UberEATS has a big advantage. The company has nearly doubled its Twitter follower count in the last year, which is far ahead of the pace of that of Postmates, for example - and with more than 130,000 Twitter followers, UberEATS' food delivery business now has a greater audience than Postmates (128,000), to boot. 

On Friday May 9, one of the most fascinating stories to emerge from Silicon Valley in recent memory will write its next chapter with CEOs old and new at the New York Stock Exchange. Where the data goes from here, will help determine Uber's future. 

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Jon Marino

Jon Marino is Thinknum's finance editor, covering the impacts of alternative data on public companies and investors. Prior to joining Thinknum, Jon worked in the ...

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