Lyft goes public with IPO filing, reveals plans for autonomous cars

Lyft Aptiv ride experience
Alex Kalogianni/Digital Trends

Ride-hailing service Lyft may trail Uber in popularity, but it’s about to beat its competitor to one very important milestone: becoming a publicly traded company. On Friday, Lyft filed paperwork with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to announce its intentions for an initial public offering. The filing values the company at as much as $25 billion. The IPO could go forward as soon as April, and Lyft will be listed with the ticker symbol LYFT.

By pursuing an IPO, Lyft is opening up its books to the public for the first time. The company generated $2.2 billion in revenue last year, a significant increase from the $1.1 billion it produced in 2017 and $343 million in 2016. That’s $8.1 billion generated in bookings off more than one billion rides, according to Lyft. The company claims to have served 30.7 million riders in the U.S. and Canada last year with its fleet of 1.9 million drivers.

That said, the company is still taking significant losses. The company generated a net loss of $911 million in 2018. That’s on top of losses of $687 million in 2017 and $683 million in 2016. It will now hope to draw in investor money to the tune of $100 million to start, with the possibility of changing that figure depending on investor interest, according to CNN.

In addition to showing its books, Lyft has also revealed some of its plans for future growth. Within the company’s S-1 filing document with the SEC, the company revealed its interest in autonomous cars. According to the company, it’s approaching driverless vehicles with a two-pronged strategy: by opening up its platform to developers of autonomous vehicles and by working on its own proprietary technology for self-driving cars. The company also acknowledged that autonomous vehicles could result in a “loss of income to human drivers.”

Lyft is the first major tech company to file for IPO in 2019, but it likely won’t be the last. There are a number of other so-called “unicorns” waiting for the right moment to go public. Airbnb, Pinterest, Palantir, and Slack are all considered likely candidates for IPO status, as is Lyft’s main competitor Uber. If Lyft has success, it seems likely that some of those others will follow suit and become publicly traded companies.

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