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I Asked Lyft’s Founders How They Plan to Turn a Profit

Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Friday is the day Wall Street and Silicon Valley have both been waiting for. The first day of trading for Lyft Inc. will set the tone for this year’s class of giant private companies heading toward the public markets. But while today’s initial public offering marks the industry’s first real test, the final exam—a market cap that goes up and stays up—is still a ways off.

On Thursday, I spoke with Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer, a day before Lyft shares were set to begin trading. I got about 10 minutes to fire questions at them ahead of regular investors getting a chance to buy their shares.

First, I wondered, would the company be profitable within five years?

The answer set the tone for the interview. Zimmer, Lyft’s president, ducked: “We cannot talk about the future, but what we can tell you is that we have set ourselves up to deliver long-term shareholder value.”