Lyft is about one-eighth the size of Uber

LyftDavid Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty ImagesLyft CEO and co-founder Logan Green.

We’ve talked to investors about why they think Lyft can succeed despite operating in the same market as ride-hailing juggernaut Uber, but we finally have some numbers to back up those claims.

In short, Lyft expects to double its revenue between this year and 2016 and become profitable by next year — even though its revenue projections are about one-eighth the size of Uber’s rumoured projections for this year.

TechCrunch’s Ryan Lawler got the Lyft numbers from “a forecast shared with potential investors.”

In 2015, according to Lawler, Lyft is looking at “nearly $US1.2 billion in gross revenues, of which its take will be around $US300 million net.” According to the internal projections, the company stands to make more than $US250 million this year from its original Lyft service, and “nearly $US40 million” from Lyft Line, Lyft’s ride-sharing service. Both Lyft and Lyft Line are expected to grow.

In 2016, Lyft says its revenues will “more than double,” with $US2.7 billion in gross sales resulting in $US700 million in net revenue.

Lyft expects $US170 million gross profit forecast for 2015, and $US400 million in 2016, but that does not account for the costs of acquiring new drivers and customers. This year, Lyft expects to spend $US200 million on customer and driver acquisition — $US150 million on customer acquisition, and $US50 million on driver acquisition.

“Taking those numbers into account, there’s a delta of around $US30 million between its gross profit and acquisition costs this year,” Techcrunch reports. “In 2016, the financial picture gets a little better: While gross profit is expected to grow to around $US400 million, its spend on driver and passenger acquisition is forecast to increase only slightly, to around $US250 million.”

Comparatively, Uber’s
gross revenue is expected to hit $US10 billion by the end of this year. Since Uber keeps 20 per cent of gross revenue and the rest goes to drivers, the company would be likely to get $US2 billion in net revenue, based on these numbers.

In December 2013 Uber generated about $US11.7 million in Washington, DC, or an annual run rate of ~$US141 million. It generated $US26 million in New York City, or an annual run rate of $US312 million. In Chicago, Uber generated $US12.7 million for a run rate of $US152.4 million. In San Francisco, Uber generated $US17.7 million, a run rate of $US212.4 million.

These numbers are from more than a year ago, so presumably Uber has grown even more in its most mature markets since then.

Another comparison: At the beginning of 2015, Lyft was doing 2.5 million rides a month. By the end of the year, the company says it expects it will be doing almost 13 million rides a month, or about 90 million rides in 2015. Lyft says in 2016 it plans to do 205 million rides.

Uber was doing more than 100,000 trips per week (400,000 per month) in each of its largest cities as of December 2013, and has presumably grown since then.

We’ve reached out to Lyft and will update this story if we hear back.

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