Founded by Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2007, Lyft initially called Zimride and focused on pooling runners for long distance trips. In 2012, the duo had renamed its Lyft company and redirected it to short local tours simulating taxi rides.
The company has come up as a more user-friendly alternative to Uber, which has been debating issues with a brutal work culture. In its early days, Lyft encouraged drivers to tie their pale pink mustaches to their front bumpers and to greet runners – often sitting in front – with punches. Although Lyft has since lost fur wing ornaments, she has retained her softer image.
Unlike Uber, which operates around the world, Lyft is present in the United States and Canada. He has followed Uber's efforts to develop autonomous cars and has also expanded to renting bicycles and scooters in the short term.
The company announced that it intended to have two classes of shares: Class A shares, each with one vote, and Class B shares, each with 20 votes. Mr. Green and Mr. Zimmer, who will become billionaires through the offer, each owns millions of Class B shares, which gives them significant control over the company. Lyft plans to sell only Class A shares as part of its public offering.
"Focusing on goals and people is not just the right thing to do, it gives you a sustainable competitive advantage," Mr. Green and Mr. Zimmer wrote in a letter from the founder to the prospectus. "In today's world, it is essential to carry out a genuine mission to create a sustainable brand and a successful business."
Lyft's main investors include Rakuten, the Japanese e-commerce company; General Motors; Fidelity, the investment management giant; Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital company; and Alphabet, Google's parent, according to rankings.
A group that has helped to establish Lyft – its drivers, who are independent contractors – will not share the spoils of public offers as they do not have stock in the company. Lyft is currently working on a cash program to give money to some drivers to buy their shares at the time of the I.P.O. The company plans to donate $ 1,000 to each driver who made 10,000 trips for the service; those who made 20,000 rides will receive $ 10,000.