Lyft Files for Initial Public Offering, Beating Rival Uber to Market

Lyft will be the first major ride-hailing company to go public.

Lyft

Lyft will beat its larger rival Uber to the punch with an initial public offering (IPO), becoming the first of the major ride-hailing companies to go public.

In a press release, Lyft said it had made a confidential filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), but offered no other details. Reuters reports that the IPO is expected to take place in the first half of 2019. Uber is expected to launch an IPO next year as well, possibly valuing the company at $120 billion, according to Reuters. Lyft was last valued at $15 billion.

While Lyft and Uber are considered rivals, the valuations demonstrate the vast difference in size between the two companies. Uber is considered to be the originator of app-based ride-hailing, and it has given more rides in more places than Lyft. Earlier this year, Lyft surpassed 1 billion rides, while Uber surpassed 10 billion.

But Lyft has found ways to compete with Uber. The smaller company has taken advantage of Uber's many scandals to gain customers by promoting a more socially conscious image. Lyft has also put more emphasis on support services in order to woo drivers, many of which fluctuate between driving for Lyft and Uber.

Lyft may even have an advantage over Uber when it comes to two-wheeled transportation, which both companies are aggressively investing in. While Uber is working to expand its bike and scooter operations, Lyft already owns Motivate, the largest bike-sharing operator in the United States.

The Lyft and Uber IPOs will be an acid test for ride-hailing and other so-called "mobility services." While these services have had a significant impact on urban transportation, profits have been elusive. Lyft and Uber will need a steady stream of funding to ensure their long-term survival, but will Wall Street investors open up their wallets?