Hello and welcome back to our regular look at private companies, public markets and the gray space in between.
This afternoon we’re digging into Lyft’s earnings results, unpacking the company’s performance, the market’s expectations and why shares in the American ride-hailing giant are off in after-hours trading.
Lyft’s earnings — following Uber’s own results that promised investors a quicker-than-anticipated path to (adjusted) profits — and the market’s reaction to its performance, provide a good frame for evaluating investors’ appetite for profits against growth. It’s a topic that’s important for startup founders and private-market investors alike.
Our investigation today is contentedly straightforward. We’ll start with the big numbers, drill into comparative performance and then weigh what the market is telling us.
Lyft’s key Q4 2019 results
In the fourth quarter of 2019, Lyft’s revenue came in at $1.017 billion, a gain of 52% compared to its year-ago result of $669.5 million. Sticking to the growth side of things, the company’s “active rider” count rose from 18.59 million to 22.91 million from Q4 2018 to Q4 2019, a gain of 23%. Lyft’s active riders also spent 23% more year-over-year, reaching $44.40 in the final quarter of last year.