• Lyft is seeking a valuation of up to $23 billion as it embarks on its initial-public-offering road show this week.
  • The company wants to raise as much as $2 billion from the road show, it said Monday in an updated filing.
  • Lyft is the first ride-hailing firm to go public and is expected to spark a slew of tech IPOs this year.

Lyft says it will launch the investor road show for its initial public offering on Monday, seeking a valuation of up to $23 billion.

Shares are expected to price between $62 and $68 when they hit the Nasdaq exchange, valuing Lyft between $21 billion and $23 billion, the ride-hailing company said Monday in a press release. Lyft's trading symbol will be LYFT.

Reports that emerged before Lyft issued an updated filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission indicated it would be seeking to persuade investors to make large commitments to its IPO rather than hold out for its larger rival Uber, which is planning to launch its own public offering next month.

The company will be pitching itself to investors as a more focused bet on ride-hailing to differentiate itself from Uber, which has diversified to areas such as food delivery and freight hauling and expanded around the world, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Lyft has also branded itself in recent years as a more driver-friendly alternative to Uber. In its first S-1 filing earlier in March, the company said it got a big boost from the "Delete Uber" campaign, which surged across social media amid Uber's struggles under its founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick.

That reputation has come under fire lately, however, as Lyft fights new minimum-wage rules in New York City -- the U.S.'s largest and most lucrative ride-hailing market. Lyft told a judge the rules unfairly benefited Uber, and that demand had dropped as prices increased to cover the higher payments.

Uber is seeking a valuation as high as $120 billion at its IPO, though some analysts have pegged it closer to $100 billion based on selected financial figures it has disclosed. Neither Uber nor Lyft is profitable.

Lyft's IPO will provide a funding boost as it continues to subsidize rides with promotions to attract passengers. The windfall from the IPO will also help finance investments in areas such as autonomous driving, according to sources.

After a quiet start to the year, technology companies are lining up for public listings as public equity markets hover near historic highs but remain vulnerable to geopolitical concerns, including tensions over trade agreements and a slowdown in economies such as in Europe and China.

Other Silicon Valley unicorns -- startup companies with valuations of at least $1 billion -- including the business-messaging company Slack and the image-sharing company Pinterest are waiting in the wings to go public later in 2019, sources have said.

Lyft the first ride-hailing firm to go public.

Lyft's IPO will mark the first time a ride-hailing company has debuted on the U.S. public markets. Lyft launched in 2012 and is led by its founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer.

The ride-hailing industry, which touted $36.5 billion in sales globally in 2017, is expected to grow rapidly but is fraught with questions about the future of automated driving, regulatory pushback, and legal challenges over drivers' pay and benefits.

Lyft is expected to emphasize to investors its rapid growth in the U.S. and its relatively uncomplicated business model, which focuses on selling rides in cars, bikes, and scooters.

In its IPO filing, Lyft said its U.S. market share had risen to 39 percent, from 35 percent early in 2018, gaining some ground on long-dominant Uber. Unlike Uber, Lyft operates only in North America.

Lyft's revenue was $2.16 billion for 2018, double that of the previous year and up 528 percent from $343 million in 2016. But Lyft posted a loss of $911 million for 2018, which climbed from $688 million in 2017 and $682 million in 2016, according to its IPO filing.

Losses could continue to mount, Lyft cautioned, as it continues to invest and eye a broader international expansion, and it could be forced to increase driver pay.

Uber's revenue last year was $11.3 billion, while its gross bookings from rides were $50 billion. But the company lost $3.3 billion, excluding gains from the sale of its overseas business units in Russia and Southeast Asia.

SoftBank's Vision Fund and Toyota Motor Corp. are part of a consortium of investors in talks to invest $1 billion in Uber's self-driving-car unit, Reuters reported Wednesday. Taking on large investors who will influence a key business is an unusual move for a company so close to an IPO.

--This post originally appeared on Business Insider.

Published on: Mar 18, 2019