Friday, 24 November, 2017

Lyft picks up $1 billion funding round led by Alphabet's CapitalG

Lyft operates along the Puget Sound from Tacoma to Arlington as well as Bellingham Wenatchee and Spokane CloseLyft operates along the Puget Sound from Tacoma to Arlington as well as Bellingham Wenatchee and SpokaneCOURTESY OF LYFT
June Sullivan | 20 October, 2017, 00:59

As Bloomberg pointed out, Alphabet is an Uber shareholder, though the companies' "relationship has deteriorated" as of late thanks to Waymo's very public legal battle with the ride-hailing service.

Lyft's new valuation is another black eye for Uber, which once boasted a close relationship with Mountain View.

Lyft had raised $600 million at a $7.5 billion valuation in April this year.

CapitalG partner David Lawee will join the company's board, Lyft said, bringing it to a total of 10 directors. But what was a promising partnership quickly turned rocky as Uber and Google became ostensible competitors in the self-driving and transportation spaces. Lawee was formerly Google's VP of corporate development.

Google's self-driving vehicle spin-off Waymo is suing Uber in federal court, alleging that its former ally recruited some of its top engineers as part of an elaborate scheme to steal its trade secrets.

Earlier this year, Waymo and Lyft formed a partnership to begin testing self-driving cars on the roads in a move that was widely seen as another attack on Uber.

"While we've made great progress towards our vision, we're most excited about what lies ahead", Lyft President John Zimmer said in a statement. Logan Green told me last month.

Even before the investment, Google had begun to align itself with Lyft. As one Uber investor put it at the time: "That is seriously messed up". It points out in its statement that just 0.5% of miles traveled in the United States are made through rideshare networks which leaves a big opportunity for companies, like Lyft, to seize on.

Reuters in September reported investment talks between the companies.

Uber, which has a valuation of almost $70 billion, is widely expected to seal a deal for a major investment from Japan's Softbank, which could allow some stakeholders to cash out.

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