Ride-Sharing Company Lyft Prices IPO Shares at $72 USD Ahead of Friday Debut [u]

Ride-hailing company Lyft is going public.

In a highly anticipated initial public offering, the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company is expected to go public Friday morning with a pre-open share price set at $72 USD, according to Lyft.

The amount was above its original proposed price range of $62 USD to $68 a share, suggesting strong investor demand for Lyft and perhaps other money-losing tech startups after a slow start to the year for the IPO market.

The San Francisco-based company’s IPO demonstrates that investors are willing to disregard mountains of red ink (a net loss that grew to $911.3 million USD in 2018) and take a chance on a mobility company that still faces significant challenges on multiple fronts going forward. The lure was the size of the potential market for a company willing to burn capital to attain scale. In its prospectus, Lyft valued the US market alone at $1.2 trillion USD a year as of 2017.

Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer are scheduled to ring the opening bell on the Nasdaq exchange, where the company’s shares will trade under the ticker symbol LYFT.

Lyft’s float will be the first time investors and analysts will be able to see how ride-hailing companies perform on public markets and is expected to set the tone for the upcoming float of larger rival Uber.

Lyft’s IPO is being closely watched as the first of several insurgent tech startups, known as “unicorns” for their billion-dollar-plus valuations, set to go public this year. The company’s main competitor in the ride-hailing market, Uber, is also looking to hit the stock market later this year. Other “unicorns” include the social media site Pinterest and the workplace communications service Slack.

Update March 29, 9:05 AM PDT: Lyft share prices surged as high as 21% in its debut, now valuing the company at over $28 billion USD. Share prices as of writing are at $85.11 USD each.