Rideshare wars: An alternative data comparison of Uber and Lyft as they IPO

1 week ago by Amy Lamare in Features

While it seems the world has been waiting for Uber ($UBER) to hit the public market for years, its competitor Lyft ($LYFT) has thrown down the gauntlet, filing its IPO paperwork in February with a valuation of $15 billion. Uber has been flirting with the idea of going public since 2015, and today, the company would have a valuation of $120 billion.

Although it is impossible to determine how much money these companies and its investors would make when they both go public, we can at least compare the two company's public data trails to get a look at their strategic paths as they prepare to make waves on Wall Street.

Uber has more app users and riders

As of February 29, Uber is the 93rd most-used app via active users who log in via Facebook ($NASDAQ:FB). Meanwhile, Lyft, which once was in the 400's of most-active apps for this metric, has dropped Facebook login entirely.

At one point, Lyft and Uber both tied user profiles to either Facebook accounts or phone numbers. But Lyft dropped the Facebook requirement a few years ago. In fact, their public website doesn't even mention Facebook outside of its official page.

However, each company has self-reported the number of rides it takes each day: as of July 2017, Uber was doing 5.5 million rides a day while Lyft did a million. Uber now says it does 15 million rides a day, which makes it easy to assume that Lyft also does a multi-million number of rides every day.

Either way, Uber is dominating Lyft when it comes to active riders, as it should with hundreds more locales that offer its service.

Lyft wins when it comes to app reviews

As of February 29, Lyft has an average rating of 5-stars on the App Store, while Uber has an average rating of 4.5.

Uber has more app reviews than Lyft, and there is little difference between the two apps even down to the rewards programs it offers. The only difference comes with Uber taking the opportunity to cross-promote its other businesses.

On the driver side, app reviews for Uber and Lyft are identical at a 4.5 average rating.

This could be because many drivers drive for both services, as the average driver (for Uber) can sometimes make less than $10 an hour after vehicle expenses.

Employee sentiments positive, both strong

When it comes to workplace culture, Uber and Lyft differ drastically. That can be clearly seen in the Glassdoor profile metrics of both companies, starting with their overall ratings.

Uber is constantly given better ratings through anonymous employee reviews than the ratings Lyft employees anonymously give their company. There was only a few days in November 2018 when Lyft barely got out in front of Uber, but by the beginnning of December, Uber was once again in the lead.

The percentage of employees who recommend the company they work for is high for both companies, but Uber comes out on top. This is surprising simply because of all the bad press Uber has gotten — from the brotastic culture that former CEO Travis Kalanick encouraged to violence against riders. Lyft, on the other hand, claims to be the "better boyfriend." It's more "woke" than its competitor who has gotten a few black eyes and isn't some bro on the street.

According to Glassdoor recommendation ratings, however, it seems employees feel better working for Uber than they do for Lyfy.

In terms of compensation and benefits, Uber and Lyft are deadlocked after Lyft had a strong run in 2018. According to ridester.comLyft generally takes a smaller cut of the ride’s earnings than Uber. However, Uber's signup bonus is often bigger, which may explain why their rating has gone up over the years. But in general, according to the "go-to resource for rideshare drivers," drivers report making more money per hour driving for Lyft due to increased tips, better prime time pricing, and the smaller cut the company takes compared to Uber.

Since Kalanick left Uber in 2017, the company has seen its CEO approval rating for his replacement, Dara Khosrowshahi, skyrocket.

Uber hires many more people

Over the past nine months, Uber has listed four to almost six times the number of jobs that Lyft puts on its careers page. Uber is the bigger company compared to Lyft, even when it comes to who drives for them; Lyft only operates in 600 cities in the United States while Uber operates in 670 cities across 70 countries.

... because unlike Lyft, it's more than a ridesharing app

This disparity in hiring is also due to Uber's other businesses. While Lyft is just a ridesharing company, Uber has also dipped its toes into industries such as the freight business, as well as food delivery. The latter of which, Uber Eats, competes with major players such as Grubhub ($NYSE:GRUB) and Doordash ($DOORDASH)... And it's even winning in that war too.

With this disparity in rideshare coverage and overall business, the closeness of the overall ratings on Glassdoor and on the App Store shows Lyft’s overall strength for its size.

But when Uber IPO's, it will understandably become a more valuable public company than Lyft, save for any effort by Lyft to match Uber's collossal network of industry-disrupting subsidiaries.

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