The underwhelming debut of Lyft on the stock market earlier this year, whose shares are down around 20 percent from when it listed, puts Uber in the fortunate position of being able to analyse the market response to a close competitor and adjust the approach to its own IPO accordingly. 

Uber's indicative valuation range announced last week of up to $91.5bn, lower than the $120bn figure that was previously rumoured, demonstrates a more cautious mindset, as does its discreet, limited roadshow presentation. Disclosure of plans to expand its food delivery business and venture into other new business areas will also help to distinguish it from Lyft, whose business plans do not currently focus on such expansion.

However, even with its revised valuation, horizontal diversification and other efforts to distinguish it from its rivals, Uber will ultimately battle with the same basic question as most tech companies coming to market – whether it is truly on the path to profitability.