Houston, we have Lyft off

On Friday, Lyft was the talk of the town as it sped past ridesharing rival Uber to be the first to file publicly for an IPO. 

Wait a minute -- didn’t both Lyft and Uber already “confidentially” file for their IPOs back in December? 

Yep, great memory.

So we’ve known that both companies would go public in 2019, but since Lyft filed its S-1 with the SEC first, it will likely be the first to actually list -- meaning have stock available to buy on a public exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange. 

Why do we care?
This is the first major ridesharing company to file its financials for public scrutiny, meaning it's our first chance to see what this type of business is running under the hood.

Let’s kick the tires

From the get-go, Lyft has branded itself as the underdog fighting to nab market share from the incumbent Uber. That narrative has served the company well:
According to Friday’s filing, Lyft now has 18.6 million active riders and holds 39% of the US ridesharing market (as of a couple months ago), up from just 10% back in 2015. 

Lyft is hoping going public will help it raise the substantial amount of capital it needs to shed its underdog status. 

It’s not easy being pink

Despite Lyft’s impressive rider growth, it is still nowhere near profitability -- the company lost $911 million in 2018. 
In the company’s race to catch Uber, Lyft has spared no expense -- highlights include entering the scooter race and suing New York City.

When Lyft goes public, it will join a long list of companies that went public prior to turning a profit -- some turned out just fine (Shopify), while others not so much (Blue Apron). 
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