Monday 18 June 2018

Taxi-hailing app Lyft raises £760 million from Google parent Alphabet

The investment from CapitalG ups Lyft’s valuation to $11 billion (£8 billion).

Picture of a smartphone displaying the Lyft app in Detroit. (AP)
Picture of a smartphone displaying the Lyft app in Detroit. (AP)

By Ben Woods, Press Association Chief City Correspondent

Taxi-hailing app Lyft has raised $1 billion (£760 million) from Google’s parent company as it looks to narrow the gap with Uber.

The investment from Alphabet fund CapitalG bolsters Lyft’s valuation to $11 billion (£8 billion) from $7.5 billion (£5.7 billion).

As part of the move, David Lawee – CapitalG partner and former Google vice president of corporate development – will join Lyft’s board.

Lyft, which only operates in the US, said in a statement: “Earlier this month, we completed our 500 millionth ride and our service is now available to 95% of the US population — up from 54% at the beginning of the year.

“While we’ve made progress towards our vision, we’re most excited about what lies ahead.

“The fact remains that less than 0.5% of miles travelled in the US happen on rideshare networks.

“This creates a huge opportunity to best serve our cities’ economic, environmental and social futures.”

The cash-injection from Google’s parent firm puts pressure on market leader Uber, which is fighting Transport for London’s (TfL) decision to deny it a new operating licence in the capital.

Alphabet has emerged as a thorn in Uber’s side, even though Google was among Uber’s early investors and still holds a stake in the company.

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

The high-profile legal battle is scheduled to go to trial in early December and could cost Uber billions of dollars in damages and derail its efforts to build its own fleet of self-driving cars.

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.

Press Association

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