Ride-sharing leader Uber is about to steal the thunder of its nearest competitor. Reuters reports that Uber is set to file its S-1 document with the SEC in April followed by a road-show to court big investors, which will set in motion plans to debut in the public market. The filing would come on the heels of an IPO by the Silicon Valley darling’s chief rival Lyft, the latter of which is likely to occur at the end of this month, giving investors the opportunity to spread the wealth across both companies.
The race to the public markets heated up after both companies filed private pre-ICO documents with U.S. regulators at year-end 2018. Uber is fetching a larger valuation of between $100 billion and $120 billion versus its unicorn status of $76 billion. Lyft is expected to boast a valuation of between $20 billion and $25 billion, up as much as $10 billion on the high-end of the range from its current size.
Neither company is profitable, however, with 2018 net losses of $3.3 billion and $0.9 billion for Uber and Lyft, respectively. On the revenue front, Uber generated $11.3 billion last year versus its smaller competitor’s $2.2 billion. Meanwhile, Uber had gross bookings of $50 billion last year compared to Lyft’s $8.1 billion.
Lyft’s net loss is the widest gap ever for a publicly traded company, Axios reported, which conjures up images from the dot-com bust, though many of those startups had little to no sales, either.
Uber has done a better job of capitalizing on the popularity of the gig economy by expanding into services such as food delivery and even a self-driving car business, the latter of which could receive $1 billion backing from institutional investors, Reuters reports. While the investment isn’t a done deal, it is something for stock market investors to consider in light of the sway the potential backers could have over the direction of the business.
Still, Uber’s diversified business model doesn’t mean it will be a slam dunk for investors. The company had to perform serious damage control over the past couple of years after being involved in scandals that led to the resignation of former CEO Travis Kalanick. Dara Khosrowshahi is currently at the helm, and the IPO performance will be a referendum on his performance so far.
Lyft, meanwhile, is more of a pure-play on the ride-sharing niche, which could play into the investment strategy of certain investors. Considering their IPO will be first, the company will likely benefit from what could prove to be voracious investor appetite.
Overall, IPOs have been a non-starter for investors in 2019, and back-to-back offerings by Lyft and Uber could be just what’s needed to jump-start the market. Other tech IPOs that are said to be in the pipeline include messaging platform Slack, Pinterest, and Palantir.