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Uber Is Reportedly Bleeding Money, But They May Not Care

Uber is reportedly posting an 'unprecedented' operating loss, but it's not necessarily bad news for the ride-hailing app.
An Uber sign is seen in a car in New York
An Uber is posted in the window of a car in New York in 2015.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

Uber appears to be taking its cues for world domination from a gym rat's mantra: No pain, no gain.

The ride-hailing app has reportedly been hemorrhaging money at a less than ideal rate as it seeks to grow its business and fend off aggressive competition from its chief competitor, Lyft.

An Uber is posted in the window of a car in New York in 2015.Eduardo Munoz / Reuters

"Uber has been been growing dramatically and their ridership numbers have increased quite a bit this year," Mike Ramsey, a research director at Gartner who covers mobility, told NBC News. "As a result of that, to get new drivers, to maintain drivers and to expand into new markets, they are spending a lot more money."

Related: Uber Whistleblower Says Employees Used Company Systems to Stalk Exes and Celebs

Uber, which is privately held and said to be worth as much as $69 billion, does not disclose its financial statements. But the company is said to have lost a staggering $800 million in the third quarter of this year, and $2.2 billion in the first nine months of the financial year, according to reports from The Information and Bloomberg, which both cited unnamed sources.

If the numbers are accurate, Ramsey said, "it's hard to imagine a scenario where this is sustainable in the long run."

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Uber has spent the year countering subsidies from Lyft, which include credits of up to $100 for new users and bonuses to woo new drivers.

At the same time, a person familiar with the matter told NBC News the company has also been placing its attention on the so-called "big bets" that will help it grow in the long run. These include self-driving cars, improved mapping for pickups and drop ups, and expanding the meal delivery service UberEATS.

Big bets of course require big bucks to pay As a 6-year-old company, the source said Uber is at a point where it's crucial for big investments to help the company leap continue to grow.

While Uber's losses may eat up as much as 40 percent of their revenue, according to the Bloomberg report, there is a bright spot.

Uber's net revenue was up 240 percent more than last year, a source familiar with their financials told NBC News.

The company has made some strategic gambles that appear to have paid off, such as merging with competitor Didi Chuxing in China.

This has allowed Uber to focus on aggressive expansion in other big markets, such as India, where CEO Travis Kalanick recently launched UberMOTO, a bike taxi system to help beat traffic congestion.

"It was a great move for them," Ramsey said. "They gave up the market in return got a big capital infusion," which was reported to be as much as $1 billion.

If Uber continues to bleed money in the new year, Ramsey said it's possible they may want to raise more capital. But don't expect an IPO anytime soon.

CEO Travis Kalanick told Vanity Fair in October that he feels the company "maybe just entered high school" and that it's not time to go to prom yet."

Ramsey also thinks Uber will steer clear of an IPO for as long as possible.

"As long as they continue to get private capital, why would they?" he said. "They have continued to get fundraising from all different sorts of places which has caused their valuation to go so high."