Lyft races ahead of Uber to Wall Street listing

Lyft files for IPO disclosing it lost $911 million last year

The ride-hailing company Lyft filed paperwork Friday with Securities and Exchange Commission, closing in on its highly anticipated initial public offering. The company purchased Motivate, the largest bike-sharing company in the country, in November.

Lyft has filed for an initial public offering that would raise $100 million, according to securities filings.

Lyft is now valued at $15bn, just seven years after it was founded by technology entrepreneurs John Zimmer and Logan Green. The second largest ride-hailing company in the US official filed its Initial Public Offering (IPO) registration today, releasing its S-1 and kicking off the final leg of the pre-IPO process. Although the company has seen an uptick in revenue, it has recorded a loss for the second consecutive year; $911 million out of the total revenue of $2.2 billion was recorded as the net loss in 2018 while $688 million out of the total revenue of $1 billion was recorded as the net loss for 2017. Revenue had skyrocketed more than 200 per cent in 2017 compared to 2016, when the company brought in $343.3 million. Lyft is now working on a cash program to give some drivers money to buy its stock at the time of the IPO. Lyft plans to launch its two-week roadshow to pitch potential investors the week of March 18, setting up the company for an early April debut. The service is active in more than 300 markets in the U.S. and Canada, and Lyft said it had 39 percent of the USA ridesharing market in December, up from 22 percent two years before. Lyft's bookings surpassed $8 billion past year, 76 per cent more than in 2017 and more than four times the number from 2016.

"We are singularly focused on revolutionizing transportation", Lyft wrote in its IPO document.

Uber is also unprofitable, and in 2018 lost US$1.8-billion before taxes, depreciation and other expenses. In fact, the increase in the number of riders has slowed over the past few quarters. Uber will undoubtedly be the star of that procession when it lists later this year, with an IPO that bankers have said could value the company at $120 billion.

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Lyft does not expect to make much in the near future on its expansion into bike and scooter renting.

Lyft's prospectus provides an opportunity for outsiders to get a closer look at the company's finances, which it hasn't previously officially disclosed. It reported 30.7 million riders and 1.9 million drivers in more than 300 cities in 2018, and has given more than 1 billion rides since its inception in 2012, according to the filing. Uber and Lyft have been subject to similar attacks on their business model, which classifies drivers as contractors and not employees.

Lyft is one of several large tech companies readying to go public this year.

The main shareholders of Lyft are General Motors, which has control over 7.76 percent of the company while the Japanese giant in the e-commerce sector Rakuten controls a 13 percent stake in the company.

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