“Owning a piece of the gig economy became a reality for millions on Friday when Lyft began trading on the public markets, signaling the start of a stream of stock offerings expected from high-profile technology companies this year,” as the New York Times is reporting.
“Lyft’s shares rose 8.7 percent in its first day of trading after opening at $87.24, far above the public offering price of $72. By the end of the day, the ride-hailing firm’s market value stood at $26.4 billion, making it one of the most valuable American companies to go public in the last decade. At that level, it was more than 23 times the valuation of the parent company of Hertz, the rental car provider, and bigger than the parent of United Airlines.
“Lyft’s public market debut formalized the rise of the sharing economy, even though persistent questions remain about the effect of gig-type work on people’s quality of life and their wages. When ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber began growing this decade, they hawked their kind of work — where drivers are freelancers who drive only when they want to — as providing flexibility. But with drivers ineligible to receive employee benefits like health care, the businesses have since prompted lawsuits and labor protests.
“Gig economy companies also have not proved a business fundamental: that they can make money. While Lyft and Uber have been expanding rapidly, they have lost close to or more than $1 billion a year. And the companies are spending heavily on new initiatives like food delivery, electric bikes and self-driving vehicles, making profits a distant prospect.”
The rest of the article is here.