And even now, seven years after it launched, Lyft subsidizes rides to attract passengers and offers bonuses to enlist drivers.
However, when a company IPOs, it means they'll be subject to the daily whims of the stock market and Wall Street investors, which not only increases scrutiny, but also means heightens pressure from investors to deliver on their financials.
Lyft expects to be valued at between $20 billion and $25 billion, up from its current $15 billion valuation, sources have told Reuters.
Losses could mount, Lyft cautioned, as it continues to invest and eye a broader global expansion.
Meanwhile, its revenue doubled from $1.1 billion in 2017 to $2.2 billion in 2018.
Victoria's Secret To Shut 3 Canadian Stores As Chain Reorganizes
Slumping "in store" sales is causing the parent company to take quick action by closing 53 North American Victoria Secret stores. Other lingerie and clothing startups claim to sell better-fitting bras and use body-inclusive advertising.
But Lyft's acquisition of bike-sharing company Motivate for $250.9 million a year ago is not expected to materially increase revenue in the short term.
In the case of ride-sharing companies, it could encourage drivers to spend more time driving for a single company instead of splitting their time between Uber, Lyft and other apps because they have "skin in the game" said Keith Chen, who was the head of economic research for Uber from 2014 to 2016 and is now an associate professor of economics at UCLA.
The ride-hailing company would be traded under the ticker "LIFT", and is seeking to create a dual-class stock structure that would concentrate voting power in the company's founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer.
These include Pinterest and Slack, which are expected go public this year.
Lyft has also gotten into the self-driving vehicle business.
Pictured is a slide from the pitchdeck included in Lyft's S-1 filing.
Self-harm clips hidden in kids' cartoons
A Florida mother has discovered shocking YouTube videos which give children instructions on how to kill themselves. Usually, kids are left alone with an iPad or a smartphone as they watch cartoons on YouTube or YouTube Kids .
At a $25 billion valuation, Lyft would be trading at almost 12 times its annual revenue.
The company had 30.7 million riders and 1.9 million drivers in more than 300 US and Canadian cities previous year. The unveiling came almost three months after the San Francisco company filed confidential documents for its initial public offering of stock. The IPO will enable the company to raise more cash to finance its operations and expand while management tries to figure out way to turn a profit.
Lyft was valued at just over $15 billion past year. The roadshow sees a company touring across countries to meet with investors and gauge their interest in buying up shares of the stock.
Lyft has been eager to emphasize its growth to investors over its total revenue, which is dwarfed by Uber.
Uber in 2018 lost $1.8 billion before taxes, depreciation and other expenses.
Unlike Lyft, Uber for the last few quarters has shared selected financial data with the public.
Canada approves extradition hearing against top Huawei executive
It called the case a "severe political incident" and said the United States and Canada were abusing their extradition treaty. The arrest was decried by Beijing, which demanded that Canadian authorities immediately release the Chinese national.
Lyft said its United States market share has swelled to 39 percent, up from 22 percent two years ago.