Lyft's IPO filing reveals nearly $1B in net losses in 2018

The ride-hailing service is growing its market share and revenues are growing quickly, but it's still posting major losses
Written by Stephanie Condon, Senior Writer

Lyft on Friday shared the details of its plans to go public on the Nasdaq exchange under the symbol LYFT. The ride-hailing service had previously announced that it confidentially filed an IPO. In the S-1 form filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday, Lyft revealed that its revenue is growing quickly as it gains market share -- but in 2018 it posted net losses of nearly $1 billion.

Lyft's revenue in 2018 was $2.2 billion, up 103 percent from $1.1 billion in 2017. In 2016, its revenue was $343.3 million. The company generated bookings of $8.1 billion in 2018, up 76 percent from $4.6 billion in 2017. Its 2016 bookings were $1.9 billion.

Its net loss in 2018 came to $911.3 million. In 2017, its net loss was $688.3 million, compared with $682.8 million in 2016.  

Operating in more than 300 markets in the US and Canada, Lyft had 30.7 million riders in 2018 and 1.9 million drivers. Its US ridesharing market share was 39 percent in December 2018, up from 22 percent in December 2016. The number of active riders increased 47 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared to the same period in 2017.

Lyft's growing market share is sure to be a concern for Uber, its main competitor. Uber is also readying to go public, but the company has been plagued by a series of controversies Last year, for instance, Uber reached a nationwide settlement agreement over a massive 2016 data breach and subsequent cover-up scheme. Meanwhile, Uber has undergone major leadership shakeups in recent years, and it continues to face challenges outside of North America

As part of its initial public offering, Lyft will be reserving shares for drivers in good standing who have completed at least 10,000 rides on the Lyft platform, as well as  drivers in good standing who have served on Lyft's Driver Advisory Council. The company is also recognizing drivers with a one-time cash bonus. Those who have completed at least 10,000 rides but fewer than 20,000 will get a bonus of $1,000, while those who have completed at least 20,000 rides will get $10,000. Drivers who have served on the Driver Advisory Council will get $1,000.

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