Uber shares plunged after the once-celebrated company posted a second quarter loss of US$5.24 Billion.  That's right, billion with a "b" and all in just three months.

Analysts said the disappointing loss was largely owing to stock based compensation - one went further to declare, "Uber has turned into the magical money burning machine."

But CEO Dara Khosrowshahi insists the company will do better.

"We think that 2019 will be our peak investment year and we think that 2020, 2021, you'll see losses come down.  I think our break even is something that we can push the company to break even if we really wanted to frankly," said CEO Dara Khosrowshahi in an interview with the US financial news network CNBC.  "No doubt in my mind that the business will eventually be a break even and profitable business."

Khosrowshahi expects most of that future growth will come not from ride-hailing but from sidelines such as food delivery.

Uber's arch-rival Lyft reported its earnings Wednesday, posting a loss of $644 million during the quarter.  Although Wall Street had been expecting some losses, Uber's position was much worse than anticipated.

Some are speculating that the era of cheap rides is over as the ride-hailing companies seek to turn profits; Lyft already raised prices in some US cities.

“We and Lyft are big-time competitors here and have been for some period of time, but for now we're seeing generally, category positions that are stable," said Khosrowshahi.  "We are focused on improving profitability in this market."