Before Lyft’s I.P.O., a Chance for Investors to Kick the Tires


SAN FRANCISCO — Lyft pulled back the curtain on its business for the first time on Friday as it prepared to go public, officially starting the countdown on a horde of technology offerings that are set to bring new wealth to Silicon Valley this year.

By publicly unveiling the prospectus for its initial public offering, Lyft signaled its intention to meet investors in what is known as a roadshow in about two weeks, after which it will most likely start trading on the stock market in April. The ride-sharing company leads a stampede of other highly valued private tech companies that plan to go public this year, including its archrival Uber, as well as Slack, Pinterest and Postmates.

But Lyft’s filing also raised questions about the financial health of the tech companies that are planning I.P.O.s. Its filing revealed that while it is growing at a high rate, it has not yet reached profitability. Lyft’s revenue grew 103 percent in 2018 compared with the year before.

The filing showed that during 2018, Lyft generated $2.2 billion in revenue on $8.1 billion in bookings, the amount paid by customers as they ride with Lyft. Lyft reported $911.3 million in losses for that year.

The filing is the first time that Lyft has made extensive details of its finances publicly available. Its public offering is being led by JPMorgan Chase. Lyft did not disclose the market valuation it is seeking from public investors; it was last valued at $15.1 billion by private investors during a financing round in June.

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