Investors hail Lyft shares in IPO, see profits down the road

Lyft will IPO on Friday with an insane $24.3 billion valuation
Lyft valued at $34.3b in first ride-hailing IPO
Author

31 March, 2019

The Japanese e-commerce company, which invested $300 million in Lyft in 2015 at a $2.5 billion valuation and then made subsequent cash infusions, is the company's largest shareholder with an 11 percent stake.

The stock is set to begin trading on the Nasdaq on Friday under the symbol "LYFT". Lyft trades on Nasdaq under the ticker "LYFT".

Lyft set the stage for how we will be expecting other major startup companies are going to fair with their IPO announcements set this year. Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer were also joined by some of the comnpany's drivers on Friday morning.

For the case of Lyft's backbone, their drivers, it is still unsure what would happen to them with the latest IPO announcement.

Co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer talked about their early vision of the company and their commitment to providing alternatives to individual vehicle ownership.

Lyft exceeded market expectations with its initial public offering (IPO) on Thursday, raising $2.34 billion and fetching a valuation of $24 billion.

Lyft has been gaining ground on Uber in the past two years, which enabled it to double its revenue last year to $2.2 billion - the kind of growth that tends to wow investors.

That is still a fraction of the $120 billion valuation that investment bankers have told Uber it could wind up with in its IPO in April, thanks to its global presence and expansion into sectors such as food delivery and freight hauling.

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For much of its history, however, Lyft was also viewed as a distant second to Uber.

Uber is planning to launch its IPO in April, sources have said.

"Lyft has been successful against big odds because we have always prioritized the long term sustainable growth of both our community and our company", Zimmer said at the event. It posted a loss of $911 million in 2018 versus $688 million in 2017.

Lyft said Friday it will invest $50 million annually, or 1 percent of profits - whichever is greater - in transportation initiatives in cities.

Lyft, as of December, had 39-percent market share in the United States, up from 35 percent early past year.

The company's appeal to investors hinged on the potential for ride-hailing to replace auto ownership. A total of 32,500,000 shares of Lyft's Class A common stock are being offered alongside an additional 4,875,000 shares which underwriters have the option to purchase. Its co-founder, Ben Horowitz, sits on Lyft's board.

From its earliest days, Uber aggressively outraised Lyft by billions of dollars, employing tactics such as prohibiting prospective investors who reviewed Uber's financial data from investing in the smaller competitor.

"The strikes called on Monday by Rideshare Drivers United (RDU) in Southern California and Gig Workers Rising in San Francisco are a sign of the deep frustration many ride-share drivers feel", the author writes. With its current rate, Uber is valued at around $70 billion on the private market, making it the most highly valued U.S. startup in the world.


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