The financial world must periodically stand agape at the wonder of “technology” companies as they first reveal their results to the public. Lyft, for example, caused much hoopla by being the first of the expected mega-unicorns to file its IPO papers, as if a first-mover advantage matters in this regard.
So Lyft is speedy. But like its archrival Uber—which has disclosed performance data publicly ahead of its IPO filing—Lyft’s results are atrocious by any objective standards. Yes, it has proven it can grow. It racked up $2.2 billion in revenue last year, about double the year before. But Lyft lost nearly a billion dollars from operations in 2018. Its cash balance declined by $600 million. And while the number of rides it provides continues to tick up, the average revenue per ride is tiny: $3.56 in 2018.