The San Francisco-based company has hired IPO adviser Class V Group to help start the process to go public, Bloomberg reports. Discussions with banks are expected to begin as soon as September, with a tentative target of March or April 2019 for an IPO. If Lyft becomes the first ridesharing startup to go public, it could claim investor money that might otherwise go to rival Uber, whose $72 billion valuation dwarfs Lyft's at $15.1 billion.
Beating Uber in a race to IPO could backfire, however, if investors decide to wait to invest in Lyft's more valuable rival. Rival companies typically avoid going public at the same time, as simultaneous listings could cannibalize investor interest. A poor public market debut for one company could also put a stain on a rival that goes public shortly thereafter.
Representatives for Lyft and Class V Group did not immediately reply to an emailed request for comment. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi has previously announced plans to take the company public in 2019.
Despite a significantly lower valuation, Lyft continues to compete with Uber for customers. Lyft claimed 35 percent of the ridesharing market in the U.S. back in May, up from 20 percent 18 months earlier.