Late last week, car rental marketplace Turo dropped an updated S-1 filing featuring its first-quarter results. TechCrunch+ previously covered the company’s full-year 2022 results, noting at the time that Turo was growing quickly while staying profitable, and was posting revenue totals that, when compared with its last known private valuation, were attractive indeed.
“What’s not to like?” we asked back in March.
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But this new slew of data complicates that previously rosy picture a little.
Today, instead of comparing Turo’s pace of revenue growth in Q1 2023 to the same period a year earlier, we’re going to compare that with Turo’s revenue growth rate throughout 2022. We’re doing this primarily because the company was enduring COVID-related headwinds in early 2021, which means it would be a bit unfair to compare Q1 2023 growth rates to those set in Q1 2022. The post-COVID tailwinds it enjoyed last year have somewhat tapered off now, so the growth that the company is seeing today could be argued to be more “organic” than what it saw a year ago.
In the first quarter, Turo’s revenue rose at a slower rate than it had in full-year 2022, and the company was unprofitable to boot. Seasonality is a factor in this business, so we’ll need to figure out just how much these new results matter, and if they should change our opinion that the company should go public post-haste.
The backdrop has changed since we last talked about this company: Cava’s IPO is rapidly approaching, and the venture-backed company seems to be enjoying strong interest for its shares despite not strictly being a tech company, indicating that there could be more appetite than expected for IPOs. Turo would prove a better test for tech companies wondering if the time is right to go public.
It’d be lovely if Turo’s Q1 2023 results give us reason to hope that it would go public this year. Fresh and pertinent data on the demand for tech shares in the public market would be incredibly useful to our reporting on the late-stage startup market. After all, what is Turo if not a late-stage unicorn full of private capital?
Turo’s first quarter
In 2022, Turo’s revenue rose 59% to $746.6 million compared to $469 million in 2021. But that increase in revenue also came with higher spending, with operations and support expenses rising 92%, product development costs climbing by 66%, and sales and marketing costs increasing by 111% to $111.3 million in the year.
Still, the company enjoyed a 5% operating margin and an even better bottom line. It was a good year for Turo, which saw revenues stuck between $140 million and $150 million in 2019 and 2020. But there was an explosion in consumer demand for mobility options after COVID waned, and Turo’s revenues soared as a result.