Uber Technologies' efficiency push paid off in its second quarter as the company continues to scale and continually improve processes on multiple fronts.
The company, which has three units focused on mobility, delivery and freight, reported second quarter revenue of $8.1 billion, up 105% from a year ago, with adjusted EBITDA of $364 million and $382 million in free cash flow.
Nelson Chai, Uber's CFO, said Uber's free cash flow means it can self-fund future growth and investments. "We do expect that you'll continue to see us improve both the gross margins as well as the bottom line," said Chai on the company's second quarter earnings conference call. "You'll see us continue to refocus and invest in businesses for the future and continue to improve the bottom line. And you should expect that, that ramp will continue."
Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi outlined how the company is improving processes for its mobility, delivery and freight units. For instance, Khosrowshahi highlighted Uber's onboarding process. He said:
"Our onboarding process has improved significantly, including our being able to bring on new drivers to deliver for Eats first and then essentially move them over to driving people and working for Mobility where earnings levels are higher. So, our onboarding flows are much more efficient than they have been in the past, which allows us to essentially bring on more drivers at lower cost, convert a higher percentage of drivers who have shown an interest in earning on the platform."
That approach to process improvement and execution management permeates throughout Uber operations. Chai said that cost per transaction for delivery is improving as are gross margins for its mobility business. "The business is operating really well right now," said Chai.
Speaking at Celonis World Tour 2022, Evette Sheehan, Global Head of Shared Services & Transformation at Uber, outlined how the company has been using Celonis to make processes more efficient and automate them.
In 2018, Uber used Celonis for its customer service processes and realized efficiency gains and enhanced customer satisfaction. In 2019, Uber saw multiple opportunities to optimize Procure-to-Pay and Accounts Payable processes.
Sheehan said that Uber is now using Celonis to work through its overall finance transformation. "Our journey with Celonis looked at how we can track and understand what was happening with our processes and more interesting where we can free up operational cash flow," said Sheehan, who added that there's a "huge amount of opportunity ahead of us in financial operations."