By Jacqueline Corba
Lyft just closed a massive new round of funding, effectively doubling its valuation in just one year to more than $15 billion.
Andrew Hawkins, Senior Transportation Reporter at The Verge, said this could signal that the ride-sharing start-up is looking to beat Uber in the race to go public.
"People should be keeping an eye on Lyft in the earlier half of 2019 to see what movements it makes to signal a public offering," Hawkins told Cheddar Wednesday.
Lyft had been thought to be on the IPO docket for this year, and was reportedly close to selecting bankers for the offering as recently as September. While the departure of its former COO in November appeared to put those plans on hold, the company signed up a new operating chief earlier this year.
Meanwhile, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in May that his company is on track to go public in 2019.
Fidelity led Lyft's latest $600 million round, which also included hedge fund Senator Investment Group. It got another $200 million earlier this year and ended 2017 with a total of $1.5 billion from Google's venture arm CapitalG.
While the company's new valuation is still only a fraction of Uber's $69 billion total worth, Hawkins said Lyft was able to capitalize on its rival's struggles.
But the company itself said it would stay true to its core mission.
"We will double down on our values, and invest in the vision that cities should be built around people, not cars," Lyft said in a blog post Wednesday. "We are committed to delivering the best possible experience for all members of the Lyft community."
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