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Home / Business / Dissecting what Lyfts IPO means for Uber and the future of mobility – TechCrunch

Dissecting what Lyfts IPO means for Uber and the future of mobility – TechCrunch



Extra Crunch offers members the opportunity to set up conference calls led and moderated by the TechCrunch authors you read every day. This week, TechCrunch's Kirsten Korosec and Kate Clark led a scuba diving discussion in Lyft's IPO and business prospects ahead.

Having skyrocketed almost 10% on the first day that hit the public markets, Lyft stock has fallen back against the IPO price, as some investors are more concerned about the company's path to profitability (or lack thereof) and long-term business fundamentals. But Lyft's public listing is bigger than just the latest in increasingly common unicorn IPOs. As the first public transport-as-a-service company, Lyft offers the first inside of the business model and its economy, and developments can ultimately serve as the canary in the coal mine for the future of transport.

"Lift, has not only survived, they have grown. 18.6 million people took at least one trip in the last quarter of 2018. It is up from 16.6 million at the end of 2016. It illustrates the growth the company has had. They have also said that they have a 39% share of the equestrian market in the US, up from 22% in 2016.

For me, the big question is to say that they had Uber's share, which is 66%, would they be able to make money? Is it determination? And I am not convinced that that is why all these other aspects of the transport-as-a service business model [micromobility, AVs, etc.] will be very important. "

Picture via Getty Images / Mario Tama [19659006] Kirsten and Kate delve deeper into what the market response to Lyft means to Uber and the timeline of the forthcoming IPO. The two also elaborate on their skepticism about running economics and discussing what innovative transport model will ultimately lead to profitability for Lifting, Uber and others.

For access to full transcript and call audio, and for the opportunity to participate in future conference calls, join the Extra Crunch. Learn more and try it for free.

Danny Crichton: Good afternoon and good morning all, this is Danny Crichton, chief editor of Extra Crunch. Thank you so much for joining us today with TechCrunch journalists Kate and Kirsten.

I start with a quick introduction for our two authors today. We have Kate Clark, our risk capital reporter. Kate has been with us for a while now covering everything in the startup and venture world. She is also one of the hosts of TechCrunch's podcast Equity, and also writes our Startup Weekly newsletter.

Our second author today is Kirsten, our pristine car writer who covers all things Elon Musk, Tesla, and everything else in the autonomous vehicle. Kirsten has also been with us for a while and also writes a newsletter that she has just introduced in the last couple of weeks, around transportation. So with that, I'll have to arrange the conversation with the two of them now.

Kirsten Korosec: Thank you so much Danny. This is Kirsten Korosec here. The newsletter is a bit soft, but Fridays are published, and we hope to get an email subscription that comes once in the future, so keep an eye on it.

I should also mention that I also have a podcast centered on autonomous cars and future transport called The Autonocast that comes out every week. Thank you so much for joining the conversation and just a reminder we want participation. So at about halfway point, we swing and open the line and answer questions. Let's get started.

Before we dig into all the heat it takes, I think it's worth giving a basic foundation – a general timeline for events. We all know for sure, of course, lift, and most of us think of 2012 as the launch date for San Francisco, but really, Lyft was built out of the service to Zimride. Which is the riding company that John Zimmer and Logan Green founded in 2007.

There has been a lot of attention on Lyft in 2018 with what happened in the past year, during the start-up of the stock exchange listing. But I find it worth noting the intense activity and growth that took place between 2014 and 2016. This is critically important year for Lyft, just a frenzy of activity during a period when the company was founded, investors and partners. 19659002] To show the amount of activity that occurred; Lyft had two separate funding rounds, one for $ 530 million another for $ 150 million, just two months apart in 2015. You can also remember in early 2016 its partnership with GM and the car manufacturer's $ 500 million investment as part of the series F $ 1 billion fundraising.

It was very interesting because GM's president then Dan Ammann took up the board, which he has since left. As Lyft and GM began to realize that they were competitors. Dan is now CEO of GM Cruise, which is a self-propelled unit of GM.

2017 and 2018 were also big years, when Lyft launched its first international market in Toronto. They made great moves on the autonomous vehicle front, which we are talking about today, and in micro mobility. Their scooter business launched in Denver in 2018. They bought Motivate, the oldest and largest electric bicycle dealer in North America. Then we finally reach the end of 2018, and this is when Lyft confidently sends a statement to FDC, and we are off with the races to IPO.

The last two months or three months are when Lyft revealed his prospect, met investors, priced his IPO and made his public debut. So Kate, what are IPO nuts and bolts, and what's happening right now?

Kate Clark : Hi everyone, this is Kate. So I'll just mention the timeline very quickly in the last couple of months in the run-up to Lyft's very historic IPO. Then it goes back to December, when Lyft is initially kept confidential in order to be public. We later find that they go public on NASDAQ when they finally revealed their S1 in early March.

This is after Lyft had increased $ 5 billion in debt and equity financing to a $ 15 billion fall in value, so there are many people paying attention to what was the first ever rideshare IPO. So at the beginning of March we can look more closely at Lyfts S1, which tells us that the company has $ 911 million in losses in 2018 and revenues of $ 2.2 billion. So after figuring out and collecting some data, many people quickly found that it means that Lyft has some of the biggest losses ever for any IPO.

So this is a very interesting IPO for many people who have given these skies, great losses, but also these large, large revenues. The next thing we see, the price raises their IPO between $ 62 and $ 68 a share. Some people were quick to say that it was perhaps a little underpriced, as this was a highly anticipated IPO with lots of demand. So on the second day in Lyft's road show, the process, they say that their IPO is overwritten. So the demand is apparently huge, they are overwritten, so they decide we should increase the price of our shares.

Picture via GettyImages / maybefalse

So Lift says they will charge a maximum of $ 72 per share and then on the day of their IPO they charge $ 72 per share, the next day opens at $ 87 per share. So we see a big IPO pop that I don't think was particularly surprising given that they were already talking about this demand and we had already known that there was a great demand on Wall Street. Not just for Lift, but only for the unicorn IPO is of this stature, given that there are so few of them. So Lyft started trading at $ 87 per share, though, if you've followed the news that wasn't lifted today.

Kirsten: Yes, so I was just about to ask – Kate give me the latest numbers, you know a lot of focus is on that opening day, but things have not exactly been maintained. So what happened in recent days?

Kate: Yes it is very tough to meet expectations after a stock exchange listing. I mean, I think there has been a lot of criticism against Lyft now, and I think it is trading under the original stock price. So, as I mentioned, Lyft opened at $ 87 per share, it was priced at $ 72, but almost immediately began trading below $ 72 a. Equity. So they closed Tuesday trading at $ 68.96 per share. Continuing boasts a market value of over $ 19 billion. So they are still appreciated much more than they were like a $ 15 billion private company, but it doesn't look good at a price per share so fast.

But it's actually beating its IPO price for just a moment today, so maybe let's give it a few more hours and see where it closes. It is possible that it will jump toward the $ 72, but it's still pretty much under $ 87.

Kirsten: With IPOs like this and especially such a high profile it is is going to be lots of attention on stock price and volatility. And then I wonder what this first week, or the first days of volatility, seemed to you? What does it say about Lyft's future and, surely, his present?

Kate: Yes. I think it's hard to say. I think many people asked whether Wall Street should be interested in a company like Lyft, which is extremely unprofitable at this time, and has many years to go before it is going to achieve profitability, if it actually achieves profitability.

So at this point you have to wonder, do any of these investors who bought Lyft just outside the bat, were they very long on Lyft? Because it looks like many of these investors have already sold their shares, and may not have been invested in Lyft's long-term profitability plan, which involves many very bad things, such as the future of autonomous vehicles, which we will talk about later in this conversation. And there is a lot of uncertainty there.

But with that being said, it is not uncommon for a warehouse to experience volatility just outside the bat, and you cannot assume the future of the stock price simply because of some early volatility.

And we gathered some examples of IPOs where there was some early volatility that did not decide for the long-term future. So Carvana, for example, is an online used car dealership in the car space, and it experienced volatility first, with the stocks pushing in the first few months, but eventually trend upward.

Kate: So Carvana opened at $ 13.50 a share, which falls below the IPO award, so it didn't even have the IPO pop. And so in 2018 it hit a full-time $ 65 per share. Today, it trades around $ 58 per share, so it's finally a positive story being told there.

And then another example on the other side of things Snap, which actually took four months to dive during its 2017 IPO award, and we all know Snap has definitely not been a success story and that trades well below the offer price. But then finally, Facebook fell below the IPO award on its second trading day, and actually had a rough first year on the stock market before the stocks finally took off and became a very obvious success. [19659002] Kirsten: So, Kate, I wonder why you think it was the first race on the first day. Was it excitement? Was there any material that pushed up the price? What was the cause?

Kate: I think there was a lot of excitement and demand around this IPO because it was very much outstanding, and there was a lot of investors that it seemed very long for the possibility that Lyft was This hugely profitable company. And I think a lot of it was because in the S1, even if you saw these really, really big losses – pretty big, just ridiculously big losses – you saw that they were shrinking over time and that it was definitely a path where Lift can take where it will reach profitability, say the next five years.

And I think Wall Street was really aware of it, and they were not aware of any of the other calculations. Now they have taken off their rose glasses, and they look at Lyft as a public company, and it is just a little different now that it is actually finished with the debut.

Kirsten: Well, then I mean that I often look at IPOs often, and especially in Lyft's case, as a measure of the investor's belief in the company's growth prospects, because this is a company that, While doing so has quite a bit of income, it has significant losses, and it does not really plan just for the present but for the future. It has been called a disturbing business for a reason, and it is certainly very forward-looking. So I wonder if you think it was a good strategy for lifting. They wanted to open it to the "public" when they actually went to the market. They did a different approach and do you think this might have had an effect? I think it is very marked for them to do this, but I wonder if you thought that some of the investors are not as disciplined.

Kate: Do you mean by the fact that they gave bonuses to their employees and drivers to join the IPO too?

Kirsten: Absolutely. In fact, it is a very good point that you might elaborate on. Lift made a little more open access to its IPO. Generally, IPOs can be closed to only large institutional investors. So has this set them up perhaps to have more volatility?

Kate: Yes, Lift gave some of their drivers up to, I think, $ 10,000 to, in theory, actually buy shares in IPO. Do I think it had a big impact? I do not know. I think there is not enough comparison, not enough data to really make a decision or to take a warm task if it really was part of the volatility. I just think given the insecure nature of Lyft's future and their big losses, I think their volatility was quite inevitable, and I think people who take this into account probably aren't particularly surprised at how the stock has gone in those first few days .

And I would add that it is this six-month lock-in period for the venture capital funds that owns Lyft and as well as their employees, so I think we are not sure what will happen when that lock-in period ends, And those holders can only sell their shares right then or how it will affect the stock price as well.

Image via TechCrunch / MRD

Kirsten: Saw something to keep an eye on. It reminds me a lot about a company I write a lot about, which is Tesla, and I have covered them for years. And it's one of the most volatile stocks, and their investors, they probably have large, institutional investors, but the number of fanboys they have with smaller investors either increases the stock price sometimes or adds to the volatility, and I'm very curious to see if it happens to lift. For example, if you go to a shareholder meeting in Tesla, it is filled with people passionate about the brand and CEO Elon Musk.

And Lift and possibly Uber, if they end up eventually going with their IPO, you can see it potentially happening because people feel very strongly about the brand and also the service it provides. So I'm curious to see how all this shakes. And I tend to assume that I personally invest in mutual funds and such things. I'm not investing in any of these companies, but the long-term patient vision tends to be better and trying to catch a falling knife, as investors have told me, is never a good idea. [19659002] So I'm curious to see if investors kind of grow up and learn with Lyft, if they become disciplined and just kind of expect it and see them play out growth prospects for the company in the long run. So, we've talked about Lyft, and I can't talk about Uber as a result. I wonder what you think this can mean for Uber. The big story was first to turn Uber into IPO, and I wonder what that means then. Is this an indication of what Uber is going to experience?

Kate: I think that question is really at the top of everyone's mind right now, including my own. I would say I still think it was very beneficial for Lift to get out first. Because imagine if and when Uber is also experiencing volatility, as it probably will, if it should have gone first, I think it would have been scared. Lifting much more than Lift's volatility may or may not be scary Uber. So with that said, I think I have two thoughts right now with my thoughts on how this affects Ubers IPO. I believe that if the Lyft share continues to be volatile and maybe even lower than it already has. I think there is a chance that Uber might decide to push his IPO back.

I think for some reason, namely that Uber is not in a hurry to become public. They have the ability to wait. They have filed to be public. So it is likely to happen very soon, but it cannot happen in April, when they allegedly plan to do so.

On the other hand, Lyft went public as a market coverage of $ 24 or $ 25 billion. While Uber is going to debut on perhaps a $ 120 billion first market capitalization. So, these IPOs, although they are both hikers and they are very similar companies in many ways, are also very different, and Uber operates on a completely different scale, even though it is still unprofitable. And have some of the same issues that investors are likely to notice.

I think it's either going to be that they decide to push it back or maybe that Uber is like, Well, we're five times bigger, six times bigger. We have much larger statistics that point to investors. There is only one chance that it can go anyway. I wish I had a better, more concrete answer, but I just don't think we still know.

Kirsten: Well, I'm fine with not taking it, just taking a few days into this stock exchange listing. I think this is a good time to open it up for questions. While waiting for a question, I'll do a quick follow-up with you Kate. What do you think this means to Uber? Will it delay its IPO?

Kate: Well, no, I don't think they should. But, as I said, it is difficult to say given that only a few days with the Lift IPO. But no, I think you have to think that they are ready to discuss the possibilities of Lyft's stock exchange listing and already planned ahead if it was volatility. They might assume it would happen, as it is not unusual. So now I'm going to say no, I don't think they should slow down, but it's probably still an opportunity.

Kirsten: Ok, good. I think another really interesting part for Uber was their acquisition of Careem. This is a deal that was made just before their IPO, so the attention shifted away from Lyft, just for a moment.

Why did Uber do this? Isn't this a signal that they are delaying their IPO? Is this just prepping for it? What do you hear about it? I wonder if this might just have been a strategy for showing world investors, especially potential shareholders, how the road ahead would look. Or is there another reason? Is it justifying their really big losses?

Picture via Careem / Facebook

Kate: I think the two latter two things you said. Just to give some background, Uber pays about $ 3.1 billion to provide Careem, a Middle Eastern riding company. So really just Uber in the Middle East. Uber has a history of acquiring smaller competitors like this in different markets where it is not active, just as a way for Uber to grow rapidly.

So I think it's a big deal to make just before it goes public. So I guess we don't know if they will necessarily be public in April, but I think it was a move to present to public market investors as a prep for a listing, to show "we just acquired this company, here is more evidence of future growth ". As you mentioned, it is definitely a rationale for the big losses we know about Uber.

Kirsten: Thanks for that. Questions?

Caller Question: Hi there, so when we talk about looking ahead and moving toward profitability – what role, if any, do you think you buy a scooter or other mobility companies want for companies like Lift and Uber?

Kir s ti: That's a great question. I think it's going to be a big piece of both of their businesses. Many describe this as the first walking IPO. We need to stop calling this for a drive. These are transport-as-a-service companies and they make money. But generating revenue as opposed to making money is another thing. When you start talking about ridesharing, it's a tough business. With them, it's a real estate activity, right? They do not own the cars and they do not use these drivers technically.

But in 2016 there were only 1% of Americans who used rideshare. So you see this opportunity, but they don't push forward. There are lots of car ownership still going on. Yes, sharing has increased, but 17 million new cars were sold in the United States last year. So scooters, bicycle shelters and other businesses are going to be the key to their profitability, because riding alone is just hard to make money. It is not difficult to generate revenue. Making money is difficult.

And I'm wondering about the way to profitability, I think it's worth noting how much they've grown. Lifting has not only survived, they have grown. 18.6 million people took at least one trip in the last quarter of 2018. This is up from 16.6 million late in 2016, which illustrates the growth that the company has had.

They have also said that they have a 39% share of the equestrian market in the United States. That's up from 22% in 2016. For me, the big question is to say that they had Uber's share, which is 66%, would they be able to make money? Is it determination? And I am not convinced that this is why all these other aspects of the transport-as-a-service business model should be very important.

Kate: In thinking what you pointed out is important, that Lyft and Uber are both transport companies, not drivers, and I believe their long-term visions involve scooters, bikes, autonomous vehicles, all kind of different transport models beyond just car parts.

Kirsten: I hate to be wishy-washy here and say, I don't know, but I really think it's going to come down to a number of things that everyone comes together. It just won't be enough for Lyft to be able to scale up his trip. And I should point out that Uber should be treated the same way, but there are some different differences. But it is important for us to think of Lift as a transport-as-a-service company. I think they say in their prospect that transportation is a huge market opportunity. The difficult part of course makes it a profit. There may be opportunity there.

So it is this activity-light business that they have right now that is walking, but then they make acquisitions in the micro-mobility area, and it becomes more capital-intensive. And it's going to force them to change their business. And then it's the autonomous vehicle piece. And finally, in my opinion, one of the pieces on their S1 that has really not received much attention at all is what they are pursuing in public transport. And they have said that they, and Uber, intend to be part of the public transoscope system.

Now, this does not mean that they will be operating buses, but there are people I have talked to in the industry that actually feel that in Uber's case they will have to control all modes of transport. For Lyft I see that they see more of the opportunity financially with the data piece and become more of a platform and become the one-stop shop where you use an app to find out if you want to use the scooter or a bike or ride garden or purchase the ticket to L in Chicago or Bart System.

So I really believe that the public transit piece is often ignored, and the cities have so much more control now and weigh in. We see this in New York City with overload prices. It will force Lift and Uber to exploit these opportunities and use the platform in a way that accelerates faster than they had imagined.

Kate: I am very interested in public transport, but I am also very skeptical about scooters and bicycles in the future of Lift, I think, given the unit's finances, I would certainly not trust that they should be Lyft's way to profitability. I think autonomous vehicles are a much more interesting way to profitability. So many companies, Uber, Lyft, Waymo and more focus on autonomous vehicles and their development, whether for hardware or software. How does Lyft's strategy with autonomous vehicles differentiate from some of its competitors or does it differ?

Kirsten: It differs from, and the fun is, it is so that you do not make it look micro-mobility necessarily as oath to profitability and are interested in AV and I write about AV, but I see that AVs are a more difficult way to profitability in a way because of the nut and bolts it takes to develop them.

So just to weigh me very quickly on the micro mobility piece and then I move on to AVer; To show the opportunity, but also the volatility of a real world example of micromobility, I was in Austin for the South by the southwest, I think you were there too, and you've probably seen scooters everywhere, right? 18 months ago there were no scooters or bicycle shelters in the city. Then came cycling first.

Picture via Flickr / Austin Transport / https://www.flickr.com/photos/austinmobility/41536051644/in/album-72157669223418248/

And I talked to the mayor of Austin and one of the people of Spin, which is a Ford-owned business, and they told me something that was very remarkable that I hadn't thought of, that scooters disturbed the bike section. Then the bikes split in, and then the scooters came in and suddenly they pulled bikes from the streets because no one used them or did not use them at the same level as the scooters.

Lifting is going to go through these same exact growing pains and people find out what works. And as you mentioned, the unit's finances are a problem, the wear on scooters alone is driving up costs and running down revenue safely, but it makes it very difficult to profit from it.

But it is a close time business, right? So there is at least generating income right now. On the other hand, you have this second piece, which is the AV piece. Lifting does some very interesting things on the AV piece – they have a two-layer approach.

So they basically created lots of partnerships to use the platform. So this started a few years ago, and companies like Aptiv, drive.ai, even Waymo and nuTtonomy, which Aptiv recently bought about a year ago and GM and Lyft, basically give developers the opportunity to use their platform and connect its autonomous vehicle and offers these tours.

And the best example of this, if you have been in CES or if you have been in Las Vegas, I should say more specifically, is this partnership that Lyft has with Aptiv – and Aptiv as a tier one supplier, they used to be called Delphi, they spun out, they bought nuTonomy, and they are Aptiv now. And this takes Aptiv automated BMW, which is on the lift network. If you take a trip, you may be asked if you want a self-driving car, or "are you okay with a self-driving car?" And they have a security driver, no people have been pulled away from it yet. But they gave about 35,000 trips since I want to say in January 2018.

Then they also do Level 5, a dedicated self-propelled vehicle assembly that was launched in 2017. And here they are basically creating an open self-driving system or open SDS. Moreover, they have collaborated with Magna, a manufacturer of auto parts, to develop these self-propelled systems that can be produced on a scale.

And then you just see a rush of partnership and sorting of two approaches, and all this costs a lot of money. And I can emphasize the amount of money that it costs or will cost to develop these systems and deploy them commercially. And I hear from other companies figures like $ 5 billion to get self-driving vehicles. So developing the full stack, doing fleet management, maintenance, all of that – thats a lot of money. And, I'm not sure where to go, will get that capital, they will get it from the open market or they will have to go and ask for more capital.

Kate: So when do you think then that Do you want to commercialize autonomous vehicles?

Kirsten: The timeline? So depending on who you talk to, you can hear from any of these developers between five years and 30 years. I think it’s important to talk about language and how we talk about autonomous vehicles. So to be clear, there is currently not a single commercial autonomous vehicle deployment where a human being or safety driver has been pulled away from the wheel. It just doesn’t exist.

There are plenty of pilots and Waymo is probably considered the leader in that list, though it is a bit of a confusing one for me because they have so many partnerships and they’ve become competitors to some of those partnerships. The analogy I use is “Survivor,” the reality show. Everyone wants to make these alliances so they don’t get voted off the island.

And now we’re at that point where autonomous vehicle development has entered what we call the trough of disillusionment, which is heads down, “let’s get away from the hype, let’s do the hard work.” And I think we’re going to see a lot of those partnerships and headwinds really come up in the next year, 18 months. So to put a target date on Lyft, it’s really going to depend on which one of those partnerships really play out and are real. I think the one with Aptiv seems the most real to me based on what I know the company is doing and I can see them doing a lot more pilots in the next 18 months.

Does that mean commercial deployment without a human safety driver behind the wheel? I’m not sure I can see a lot more these pilots with a human safety driver expanding beyond Las Vegas. I see pilots happening absolutely in the next year to 18 months. The issue is going to be when is that human safety driver going to be pulled out and with which partner.

Kate: So should we open it up to questions again?

Caller Question: Hi, I was just wondering how we should think about the regulatory risks that might exist as these companies expand to new cities, new markets, or even the public transport use case you mentioned. Thanks.

Kirsten: The regulatory piece is an interesting one. Let’s talk about ride-hailing first. We’ve already seen the regulatory environment, in cities, push back against companies like Uber and Lyft. I think the congestion pricing model that just launched in New York City is going to be one to watch and could be something that will put pressure on, on businesses like Lyft.

Kate: I agree and just to speak, quickly on the scooters; I think the narrative around scooters has been pretty dominated by how cities have forced them out or cities push these strict regulatory barriers on them. And I think that’s still playing out very much. There are even some scooter providers that have had to pull out of cities that they worked very hard to get into in the first place. So I think that has slowed down some of the growth there. And given that Lyft has micromobility as such a key part of their road to profitability, I think that’s partially why I am a little bit skeptical of how that’s gonna play out.

Kirsten: One thing we’ve found, and something to consider for Uber as well, in the future, if any of these AV developers end up, filing for IPOs on their own — there’s been chit chat about Waymo someday doing that or GM cruise someday— the implications for all of these companies and their relationship with cities should not be ignored or undervalued.

And I think you see a bit of that playing out with the present day track we have, which is the ride-hailing scooters and bike share cities and transit agencies or the DOT of different counties finding that they are in a more powerful position than they’ve ever been before. And they are exerting that power.

And so you will see instances like Los Angeles where they have put forth a mandatory data sharing component if you want to operate in their city. This raises some privacy concerns by the way, but it also adds another cost to a company or certainly forces them to look at their business a little bit differently.

Then you start talking about AVs and where are they will operate, how they will operate, where are they will park, what type of vehicle will be allowed in the urban center. In places like Europe, there are strict emissions rules, so that’s going to go to an AV or hybrid profile. And it’s important to think about what that regulatory framework might be and acknowledge the fact that it’s really a mishmash.

There are voluntary guidelines on the federal level right now, but there were no mandates. And so it’s really left up to the cities, counties and states to decide how an AV might be deployed. It’s going to mean probably more lobbyists in DC working with federal folks to ensure that their business doesn’t get hamstrung as a result as well as more of a presence in those cities and states and counties.

But Kate, I’m wondering what is your view from a startup perspective? Do you think of Lyft as a startup anymore are they acting like a startup or are they acting like a company that could handle all of these different complicated, various challenges? I mean, we’ve got pricing pressure, regulatory pressure or you’ve got AV development, opportunities with scooters and all this other stuff. So are they acting like a company that is able to handle this?

Image via Getty Images / Jeff Swensen

Kate: That’s an interesting question. I mean, they’re definitely not a startup anymore by, by anybody’s definition. You maybe could have still used that word, if they were still private, but even then, I know many people would yell at you for using that term for a company worth $15 billion. But now it’s a public company. It’s not a startup. I don’t think they’re acting like a startup, no. I think that they are mature in the way that they’re handling all of these different, so-called paths to profitability.

But we need to wait and see. Let’s see how this year goes, let’s see how they handle all the criticism that they’re going to undoubtedly take from Wall Street or from everyone who’s either interested in buying or just taking a seat and watching how the stock favors and then we’ll know what kind of lessons they took from all those years as a private company. Then we can decide if their behavior is really that of a mature public company.

Kirsten: I do want to make one point that I think is an interesting one on Lyft’s strategy versus Uber is in terms of AVs. Let’s all put a big asterisk that says no, AVs are still a ways out. It is important to note the Lyft and Uber’s strategies for AVs are wildly different and Uber does not take this dual approach. Uber is throwing a ton of capital towards developing their own, self-driving stack and also they’ve done, some acquisitions as well.

They’ve also had quite a bit of trouble. Last year Uber had the first self-driving vehicle fatality that happened in Tempe, Arizona, which looked like it was going to derail their self-driving unit, but it did not. They’re back, testing in a very limited way, but Lyft’s is all about what they call the democratization of autonomous vehicles.

And we can look at that as marketing speech, but I do think that it’s important to look at those words because it shows what their business model is. Their business model is partnerships, alliances, opening up the platform and casting the widest net possible. What I’m very interested to find out is which approach will end up being the winner. It’s going to be a very long game. It’s not going to be anything that’s going to be determined in the next year. I think what Lyft’s proven is that when they look like they’re down and out, they come back.

We’ll see what the better approach is. Do you do everything in-house and launch your own robo-taxi service? Or take capital partners on or do the Lyft approach, with multiple partners? Are partnerships actually too complicated? As someone who covers the startup world, do you have a thought on which one might work or not?

Kate: I have no idea which will work better and I’m sort of excited to see where this all goes, especially as Uber and Lyft are now going to be public.

That’s a good spot to end the call on.

Kirsten: Thanks so much for joining. Thanks again for being Extra Crunch subscribers, we really appreciate it. Bye everyone.


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