Mar 1, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Situational awareness: President Trump has clarified his statements on Kim Jong-un and Otto Warmbier after the late student's family put out a statement today. Trump tweeted:

  • "Of course I hold North Korea responsible.... for Otto’s mistreatment and death. Most important, Otto Warmbier will not have died in vain. Otto and his family have become a tremendous symbol of strong passion and strength, which will last for many years into the future. I love Otto and think of him often!"
1 big thing: Lyft files first

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

An exit is on the way for one of Silicon Valley's highest-profile minotaurs, as Lyft filed today for an IPO.

By the numbers, via Axios' Kia Kokalitcheva:

  • In 2018: $8.1 billion in bookings, $2.2 billion in revenue, $911.3 million in losses, and more than 1 billion total rides. 30.7 million riders and 1.9 million drivers.
  • Lyft roughly doubled its revenue per rider over the past two years, from $18.53 to $36.04.
  • The share of ride revenue Lyft keeps has grown over time, hitting 28.7% in Q4 2018.

Between the lines: I asked Axios reporters to share what the IPO means for the company's intersections with our coverage.

  1. Other ride-hailing companies: There's finally a public competitor for them to be compared to. It was probably smart for Lyft to go before Uber so that it doesn't have to get compared to a global giant, Kia tells me.
  2. Lyft's long-term drivers will get bonuses allowing them to buy in at the IPO. (Uber is also expected to do this.) Kia emails that this might be a good brand loyalty/PR stunt exercise, but it doesn't solve the age-old question of whether drivers should be independent contractors or company employees.
  3. Driverless cars: Autonomy is key to profitability for Uber and Lyft, as it lowers the cost per mile and makes ride-hailing more affordable, driving up demand, Axios' Joann Muller emails. Lyft's S-1 says to expect some AVs within 5 years, with a majority of trips by driverless cars within 10.
  4. Environment: A big challenge for urban policymakers will be trying to ensure that ride-hailing's growth doesn't cannibalize enough mass-transit trips to send urban transport emissions upwards, Axios' Ben Geman notes.
  5. P.S. When ride-hailing companies go public, that will open them up to shareholder activism and pressure on climate change — the sort that's increasingly leading to new disclosures and policy steps by oil companies and recently one of the world's biggest coal companies, Ben tells me.
2. What you missed
  1. Canada will allow the U.S. extradition of Huawei's CFO to proceed.
  2. Amazon is plotting to open several dozen grocery stores across major U.S. cities, reports the Wall Street Journal. Amazon declined to comment to Axios.
  3. Australia set a new all-time high for the summer season, according to its weather bureau. Go deeper.
  4. The Trump administration is set to announce that it will end large-scale joint military exercises with South Korea, NBC News reports.
  5. Rep. Adam Schiff wants answers from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on why the platform is pushing products and content that can discourage parents from vaccinating their children. Go deeper.
  6. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb has presented senior White House staff with his plan to effectively ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes in convenience stores throughout the U.S. Go deeper.
  7. Rep. Elijah Cummings wants "full and immediate compliance" on requests for documents regarding Jared Kushner's top secret security clearance. Details.
3. 1 2020 thing

We've updated our 2020 presidential tracker, as Washington Gov. Jay Inslee entered the race today. His #1 topic is climate change.

Expand chart
Graphic: Naema Ahmed, Aïda Amer and Haley Britzky /Axios

Go deeper: See this graphic as an interactive.

Mike Allen