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EquityZen Management Discusses Uber's IPO

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Risun Udawatta   May 09, 2019

On Friday, May 10, Uber will go public on the NYSE. The company's IPO is expected to be the largest IPO since Alibaba hit the public markets in 2014. On the eve of Uber's IPO, EquityZen's founders appeared on Cheddar, Bloomberg Asia, and CNBC to discuss their thoughts on Uber's IPO.

Below, we have compiled recent media appearances and relevant readings to help you stay up-to-date with the information you need to know about Uber as they ring the bell and go public.

Check out our Uber IPO Center to learn more!

Will Market Uncertainty Impact Uber IPO?

Phil Haslett, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer of EquityZen, joined Cheddar to discuss Uber's IPO and how Friday may not be the best day for Uber given the recent market volatility.


"When you tack on this tariff disagreement that might come down tomorrow, it's kind of like having your wedding tomorrow and the hotel saying, 'Hey, by the way, we might have a Smashing Pumpkins concert happening right next to you.'" - Phil Haslett


EquityZen's Haslett on Uber IPO, Driver strike, Business Model

Phil Haslett, Co-Founder and Chief Revenue Officer at EquityZen, discusses the strike by Uber drivers around the world, the business model of the gig economy, how Uber can differentiate itself from Lyft, and Uber’s Asian competitors.


"At some point the rubber is going to meet the road with the gig economy, where Uber will need to convert the folks on 1099 contracts to full-time [employees], which is going to have a big impact on the business." - Phil Haslett

How Uber loses money

CNBC's Dierdre Bosa and EquityZen CEO Atish Davda join "The Exchange" to discuss Uber's plan to go public on Friday, May 10.


"Uber is pricing itself to be very distinct from Lyft, and hopefully for the final time say, 'We're not the same company. We're five times larger and we're in 56 more countries than Lyft is in.'" - Atish Davda

EquityZen In The News

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Impossible Foods vs. Beyond Meat: 5 Key Differences You Should Know

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Michael Wenner   May 02, 2019




2019 is shaping up to be an exciting year with several tech companies gearing up for IPOs. Amongst them is a highly anticipated food technology startup called Beyond Meat, which is planning to disrupt the consumption of meat as we know it. The company is raising $240 million at a $1.6 billion valuation. Beyond Meat plans to accelerate all aspects of the business through the capital raised and hopes to move the world closer to plant-based protein that mimics animal-based meat.

Although Beyond Meat considers all meat producers to be its competitors, realistically the company competes against Impossible Foods, another ode to the fake meat movement. Impossible Foods has created their version of meatless burgers called Impossible Burgers, which also uses plant-based proteins. Although the company hasn’t officially set its eyes on an IPO, the CEO’s comments concerning turning down an acquisition by Google indicate a possible IPO for Impossible Foods in the coming years. Nevertheless, to understand the two companies better, let’s break down their key differences.

Funding and Valuation

In terms of private funding, Beyond Meat has raised $122M from high profile investors such as General Mills and Tyson Foods (which has liquidated their 6.5% equity stake ahead of the IPO). Beyond Meat has also enjoyed the backing of VC giants Kleiner Perkins in addition to a slew of traditional agricultural investors. Impossible Foods, on the other hand, has raised three times the capital as Beyond Meat, totaling $388M with investors including Khosla Ventures and Temasek Holdings. Curiously, Bill Gates has opted to back both horses by investing in the two companies.

Production

With two production facilities in Missouri totaling 100,000 square feet, Beyond Meat produces and sells its plant-based products in over 33,000 grocery stores, restaurants and hotels in the U.S. One main appeal of Beyond Meat’s products are that its 100% plant-based recipe is less resource intensive compared to meat-based equivalents. According to a University of Michigan study commissioned by the company, each Beyond Burger generates 90% less greenhouse gas emissions, requires 46% less energy, has more than 99% less impact on water scarcity, and 93% less impact on land.


On the other hand, Impossible Foods is producing 500,000 pounds a month in their 67,000 square foot facility, and serves over 5,000 restaurants. The company recently launched a new burger, called the Impossible Burger 2.0, and partnered with White Castle and Burger King to sell it. Impossible Foods claims that the Impossible Burger 2.0 will reduce aquatic eutrophication by 78%, global warming by 60%, land occupation by more than 99%, and water consumption by 79%.

It should be no surprise based on the statistics above that environmentalists are cheering the rise of these plant-based meat alternatives.

Management 

The two companies have highly motivated founders. Beyond Meat was started by Ethan Brown, who turned vegan himself after his experiences working on his father’s dairy farm. Seeing the lack of plant-based options in the main stream fast food culture, he came up with the idea to create meatless burgers and started Beyond Meat in 2009.

Impossible Foods was founded by Patrick Brown – also a vegan – who was a professor from Stanford University. While on sabbatical, he set out to solve what he saw as one of the biggest climate change contributors, animal agriculture, and started Impossible Foods in 2011.

Both companies set out to curb climate change by changing consumer habits through plant-based meat options.

Products

Both companies’ flagship products are their meatless burgers. Beyond Meat, though, has expanded its offerings to include sausages and ground beef. In addition, only Beyond Meat is GMO-free while both companies are gluten free. Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods though have used different strategies to capture the market. Beyond Meat has primarily offered its products via grocery stores and recently has broken into the food service industry. Impossible Foods has taken the opposite tactic, focusing on the food service industry with hopes to launch in grocery stores this year.


Both companies are constantly experimenting with their formulas, attempting to mimic the taste and feel of meat. Beyond Meat expects to roll out new products in 2019, potentially including chicken. Impossible Food’s CEO has stated that he aims to completely replace the use of animals as a food production technology by creating sustainable meat, fish and dairy products directly from plants.

Taste

Beyond Meat uses a proprietary system that applies heating, cooling, and pressure to align plant-proteins in the same fibrous meat structure. In addition, the company uses plant-based proteins from pea, faba beans and soy to mimic the composition of animal-based meats. Using this method, Beyond Meat claims to be able to mimic the hallmark burger “bleed.” Additionally, the company asserts that its products are vegan and non-GMO.

Impossible Foods focuses on delivering a product that has all the flavor, aroma, and beefiness of meat from cows. The company uses heme, which is a molecule found in hemoglobin, that the company believes recreates the meat-eating experience. Impossible Foods derives heme through genetically-modified yeast and asserts that its products are 100% plant-based. 

Beyond Meat priced its IPO at $25, the top end of its revised range, on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. The company debuts on the public markets today, testing the public markets' appetite for plant-based alternative foods.

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Lyft Beats Uber to First Ride-Hail IPO

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Adam Augusiak-Boro   March 28, 2019

Lyft, Inc.’s public debut will kick off one of the most highly-anticipated IPO seasons in recent memory. As companies stay private longer and the number of public companies in the U.S. remains at an all-time low, blockbuster IPOs like Lyft are an increasingly rare occurrence. We cover some of the reasons behind the fall in IPO activity in EquityZen’s 2019 IPO Outlook, which predicts that Lyft and 15 other companies, including its larger, global competitor Uber, will finally go public in 2019 and reignite what has been a largely muted IPO calendar over the last several years compared to previous bull markets. With Uber on its heels, Lyft is set to begin trading on March 29 at a fully-diluted valuation of around $25 billion (Lyft’s latest S-1 filing indicates a price range of $70 to $72 per share), allowing public investors access to Lyft’s stock for the first time in its history. Previously, investors looking to purchase Lyft shares had to participate in private financing rounds with high minimum investment thresholds or seek secondary offerings on pre-IPO trading platforms like EquityZen.


Now that we finally have access to Lyft’s full financial statements and management commentary within Lyft’s Form S-1, we have prepared the below mentioned report with our thoughts on the company’s total addressable market (TAM), path to profitability, comparable companies, and a number of growth levers and downside risks. As Lyft cements its IPO pricing post-roadshow, we expect that institutional investors have asked Lyft’s management many of the same questions that we cover below.

Sector Overview: Transportation-as-a-Service

Ride-hail companies like Lyft identify as multimodal transportation networks operating within the burgeoning Transportation-as-a-Service (TaaS) industry—also referred to as Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). TaaS describes a shift away from personally-owned modes of transportation and towards mobility solutions that are consumed as a service, often on-demand, and tailored to the individual needs of a traveler through a variety of transportation options, like ride-hailing and carpooling.


This industry, born in the wake of the Great Recession, was made possible by the mass adoption of smartphones, which for the first time allowed millions of drivers and riders to connect via ride-hailing apps. As the industry developed, several modes of transportation have been incorporated into TaaS networks, including:
  • Ride-hail: Ride-hailing is a service that connects riders with local drivers, giving riders a door-to-door transportation option. Example: Lyft’s core, on-demand ride-hail offering.
  • Carpool: Carpooling connects drivers with other passengers looking to travel to the same long-distance destination, sharing the cost of the journey between the driver and passengers. Example: Paris-based BlaBlaCar’s long-distance service.
  • Shared rides: Shared rides are the intersection of ride-hailing and carpooling, where riders traveling similar routes share a trip, often for short distances. Examples: Via, UberPool and Lyft’s Shared rides
  • Bikes and Scooters: Bike and scooter rentals provide consumers with a first- and last-mile option, giving riders the option to pick up and drop off these rentals anywhere they are available. Examples: Bike and/or scooter rentals are now offered by a number of companies, including Uber, Lyft, Lime and Bird.
  • Autonomous Vehicles: Autonomous vehicle (AV) rides are still in their infancy, but ride-hail companies like Lyft and Uber hope AVs will eventually provide all of the rides on their respective networks. Examples: In addition to Uber and Lyft, a number of diverse companies are chasing AV ambitions, including General Motors, BMW, Tesla, Apple and Waymo.
So how large is this TaaS market? And where does Lyft fit in? Download our report to dive in.
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