Ridesharing app Lyft will reportedly list on the NASDAQ no later than next month. In the process, it will raise – depending on the accuracy of analysts – around $2 billion USD. While this is great news of the tech community, who have been starved of a good, high profile listing in recent times, it does raise a number of questions about Lyft and the ridesharing industry in general.
Uber was the original ridesharing app, and is still the dominant force in the industry, but where does Uber sit in relation to an IPO of its own? Uber has said for years – especially under founder and original CEO Travis Kalanick, that it was unlikely that an IPO is on the horizon. Although this has been brought into question with a new administration in place, the business is well aware that there are very few problems that the cash-rich business can solve by diluting its ownership to fill the coffers even further. In saying that, Uber has filed paperwork and rumour has it that they will list in April, but this is not confirmed and many analysts still consider it unlikely. Lyft is the next best thing, and Uber will no doubt be watching nervously to see the impact of the listing…maybe we should look closely in April.
What About Ridesharing as a Whole?
This is the big question. As the global mainstream taxi businesses start adapting; reviewing pricing and policy models and genuinely competing with the apps for perhaps the first time, will Lyft regret the limitations and measurement that come with the listing? This isn’t important yet – taxi services are, despite plummeting profits failing to adapt quickly – the long term ramifications may be significant. Is there a relevant pivot available for Lyft? How will they choose to respond? The public will be hoping for a price war or at least a more luxurious service offering.