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Opinion
Joe Nocera

Uber and Lyft Leave Their Drivers by the Side of the Road. Again.

An IPO offered an opportunity for the companies to share the wealth. What do you think they did?

Can this app help drivers find hidden treasure?

Can this app help drivers find hidden treasure?

Photographer: Akos Stiller/Bloomberg

Corrected

The difference between tech insiders and the hoi polloi is that the tech insiders make their real money long before a company goes public. This is especially true of the so-called unicorns — those tech companies with pre-IPO valuations of $1 billion or more.

The insiders invest when the company is still in its early stages, while it’s raising money to build a business the public markets will one day embrace.  Carl Icahn is a pretty good example of this: He put $100 million into Lyft Inc. in 2015 and added an additional $50 million later on. Four years later, just before Lyft went public, he sold his stake to George Soros for somewhere around $500 million. Nice work if you can get it.