Lyft: Hyper-growth valuations unlikely to give investors hyper-growth

By Bryan Rich

March 28, 5:00 pm EST

Earlier this month, we talked about the big IPO agenda this year.

We have some big Silicon Valley “disrupters” set to go public this year, including Lyft, Uber, WeWork and Airbnb.

Lyft will IPO tomorrow.  The expectations is for a $20+ billion valuation.

The company has raised $4.9 billion in the private market since launching in 2012.   A little more than a year ago, it raised money at an $11 billion valuation.  If you were the investor at that stage, you’re looking at a double when it goes public (just 15-months later).

Now, if you are joe-average investor, as a buyer of Lyft shares, you’re about to pay these early private market investors at a $22 billion valuation.  This is a company that did about $2 billion in revenue last year, and lost about a billion dollars.

Remember, while the founders of these companies will become celebrated billionaires, the investors that buy these shares in the public market don’t tend to get rewarded very well.  Of course, there are exceptions, but remember, the IPOs this year are coming into a far less friendly regulatory environment than their “disrupter” predecessors of the past decade.

The reality:  The hyper-growth valuations are unlikely to get hyper-growth, as the regulatory advantages Silicon Valley has enjoyed over the past decade are now being scrutinized by Washington.

Here’s how the big “disrupters” of the past two years have fared, after much anticipated IPOs.

Dropbox:  Dropbox was priced at $21 per share.  It started trading at over $28.  Today it trades at $22.

Spotify:  Priced at $165.90 per share.  It started trading at $164.  It currently trades at $137.

Snap: Priced at $17 per share.  It started trading at $22.  Today it trades at $10.80.

After Lyft, Uber is on deck.  Uber last raised venture capital at a $68 billion valuation.  They are expected to go public at a $120 billion valuation.

Join me here to get my curated portfolio of 20 stocks that I think can do multiples of what broader stocks do, through the end of the year.