Welcome to this week’s Private Markets Express, a digest of small pieces of private equity knowledge gathered for your reading pleasure.

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The high growth story for the ride-sharing giant, Lyft, continues this week. Last week Lyft announced a $25 million partnership with Jaguar Land Rover’s InMotion, where the companies will work together on autonomous car testing. That, together with the recent $600 million that Lyft just raised in a series G-round pushes the company’s valuation to $7.5 billion. According to Wired, in the first quarter of 2017, Lyft has launched operations in 130 new cities, bringing its total to 350. Lyft has booked 70.4 million rides in the first 3 months of the year, compared to 29 million in the same stretch of 2016. This is all great news but Lyft has an eye on a bigger prize: a lead in the race to build and deploy autonomous cars. Lyft founder John Zimmer wrote in a blog post:

“Autonomous vehicle fleets will quickly become widespread and will account for the majority of Lyft rides within five years.”

Their strategic partnerships with General Motors, Waymo, and Jaguar Land Rover are setting Lyft up to be a dominant player in the ride-sharing industry for years to come.

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Our favorite music streaming service Spotify has been doing well on the revenue front. According to Recode, Spotify’s revenue grew more than 50 percent, to $3.3 billion last year. While most of the revenue gets paid out to music rights owners, Spotify still generated gross profit of $502 million in 2016.  Spotify also announced last week that it has surpassed 140 million global monthly active users. The company had 126 million users at the end of last year; 50 million of those are paying subscribers.

spotify User growth

Could this be another step towards the company’s public listing?

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This coming weekend could feature two Falcon 9 launches within 48 hours. According to Space.com, SpaceX is set to launch a Bulgarian communications satellite using a previously flown Falcon 9 booster from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, then launch another commercial satellite mission on Sunday (June 25) from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The Sunday launch will use a new Falcon 9 to launch 10 new satellites for the company Iridium, which is building a 70-satellite constellation for its Iridium NEXT mobile communications network.

Elon Musk also published a scientific paper covering SpaceX’s goal to colonize Mars and make humans a multi-planetary species. In the paper, Musk explains why Mars is the most realistic option and how colonization could be achieved.

If you are interested in learning more about his plan and vision for colonizing Mars, you can read the full 16-page paper here.

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