Ride hailing start-up Uber has filed confidential papers for one of the most widely-anticipated initial public offerings on the stock market, according to people familiar with the matter. The move towards the public listing was made as Uber filed paperwork to the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday for a flotation that has long been expected to debut in 2019. Uber’s acceleration of the process comes after US ride-hailing rival Lyft also announced Thursday that it had filed for an IPO, heating up the contest between the two companies to reach the public markets. The filing is set to be one of the largest ever for a tech company. Uber’s current valuation sits at $76bn, and its plans for an IPO or expected to see its worth rise to $120bn. The IPOs mark a turning point for two companies that have seen significant growth from private investors, who have helped the companies scale to become some of the most accomplished forerunners in a new generation of tech firms from Silicon Valley. Uber has raised around $18bn from investors since its launch in 2010, with the likes of Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank among its backers. Uber’s plans will mark a change from 2018’s slowdown in tech IPO’s, with the likes of AirBnb and work-messaging service Slack planning to take the step from capital markets to public money. Uber’s stock market flotation could come as early as the first quarter of next year.