In its first quarterly earnings report since going public, Lyft reported an adjusted net loss of $211.5 million but predicted steady progress toward profitability after this year.
The ride-hailing company’s net loss for the first quarter was $1.1 billion, reflecting in large part a $894 million charge for stock-based compensation. The adjusted net loss declined from $228 million in the same period a year ago and was better than analysts’ expectations of a $274 million deficit.
Revenue increased 95% to $776 million as Lyft’s active ridership rose to 20.5 million from 14 million a year ago.
“The first quarter was a strong start to an important year, our first as a public company,” CEO Logan Green said in a news release.
Brian Roberts, Lyft’s CFO, told analysts the losses would continue this year as the company plans to invest heavily in new branches of its business, including short-term rentals of electronic bikes and scooters, autonomous vehicle development, and the rollout of driver centers that provide vehicle maintenance and other services to drivers.
Losses will peak in 2019 and “then we will move steadily towards profitability,” he said.
But according to Fortune, Lyft’s management still faces “the quandary of how to move the company toward profitability without price increases that could send loyal Lyft riders to its chief rival, Uber.”
Although Lyft sees revenue rising 52% to around $3.29 billion in 2019, that would represent half as much growth as it experienced last year. The company’s heavy spending has also been contributing to its losses, with total costs and expenses rising to $1.9 billion in the first quarter from $643 million a year earlier.
Since Lyft went public in March, its shares have fallen 21% below the $72-per-share offering price.
Uber is preparing to go public later this week with a price range that values it at up to $91 billion. But as The New York Times reports, “it, too, is deeply unprofitable and has prompted questions about whether ride-hailing — which involves hefty spending to attract drivers and passengers — is a sustainable business in the long run.”