Lyft unveils S-1: revenue up 6x in two years, along with increased losses

Steven Loeb · March 1, 2019 · Short URL:

Lyft had $2.2 billion in revenue in 2018, and a loss of nearly $1 billion

2019 is going to be a big year for the IPO market, with a slew of big companies making their debuts, including Airbnb, Uber and Slack. That also means that these companies will  finally give us a look under the hood, to see how they are operating financially after years of mystery.

On Friday, Lyft officially filed it's S-1 with the Security and Exchange Commission, showing that, while its revenue had spiked dramatically in just the last two years, so too have its losses.

The company saw revenue jump 209 percent from 2016 to 2017, going from $343 million to $1 billion, and then more than doubling once again to $2.2 billion in 2018, far surpassing what the was expected to make for the year. That means revenue increased more than 6x in just two years.

At the same time, the company has seen its losses grow from a net loss of $682.8 million in 2016 to $911.3 million in 2018, an increase of 33 percent in the same two year span. 

Meanwhile, the company's number of active riders has also been increasing, as has its revenue per ride. In 2018, the company saw a total of 65.5 million active riders, who took 619.4 million rides. That's compared to 41.5 million riders and 375.6 million rides in 2017, an increase of 58 percent and 65 percent year-to-year, respectively. 

The company defines Active Riders as "all riders who take at least one ride on our multimodal platform through the Lyft app during a quarter." Since an Active Rider is defined by having a unique phone number, a rider with two mobile phone numbers who took rides using both would count as two Active Riders. 

In the final quarter of 2018, revenue per ride was $36.04, up 32 percent from $27.34 in the same quarter of 2017.

Founded in 2012, as an offshoot of ride-sharing service Zimride, Lyft will debut on the Nasdaq exchange with the symbol "LYFT."

The company has raised a total of $4.9 billion in venture capital, including a $600 million round in June of 2018, valuing it at $15.1 billion. Investors have included SoftBank, TPG, Tencent, Oceanic Partners, Rakuten and Goldman Sachs.

The company's main rival in the e-hailing space is, of course, Uber, which has raised more money, a total of $24.2 billion, most recently taking $2 billion in debt financing in October. The company is said to be valued at $72 billion. Uber is also significantly larger than Lyft, and not just in terms of valuation; Uber made $2.5 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2018 alone, growing by 38 percent, compared to the $2.2 billion Lyft made for the entire year. 

Uber has filed confidentially for its public offering, but once those documents become public it will be easier to see how the two companies stack up against each other. 

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Lyft is a peer-to-peer transportation platform that connects passengers who need rides with drivers willing to provide rides using their own personal vehicles.