Long Road Trip Continues For Lyft

A note made of recent announcements regarding Lyft. From their press release:

“Fidelity Management & Research Company is leading a $600M financing round in Lyft, bringing Lyft’s post-money valuation to $15.1 billion. Joining Fidelity in this capital raise is Senator Investment Group LP.”

This will be added to an approximate cumulative raise of $5B USD.

Even after Lyft’s post-money valuation doubled to 15B USD from its April 2016 post-money value (when it had raised $600M USD) the ride-share platform with the sunnier public image is still roughly a third to a quarter of Uber. It might be the smaller of the two leading U.S. names, it’s also a long way from being wiped out during the Kalanick years. And one interesting difference is that this latest round of capital is not through secondary share issuance unlike Uber. Another difference is that Lyft’s valuation might be smaller but it has been moving in one direction, upwards, whereas Uber appears for the moment to have topped out at $70B USD in 2016 and is under $50B USD based upon a recent Softbank investment, where Softbank bought 1.2$ USD of shares directly from Uber and bought out $8B from pre-existing UBER shareholders.

Other positive trending Lyft trends include: “The company claims a current US market share of 35%, up from 17% in January 2016. And Lyft is on track to pick up $7.7 billion in gross bookings this year. That will be a record for the company, per The Wall Street Journal. Uber, for its part, had a reported $37 billion in gross bookings in 2017.”

This is no small market, given the nearly 2 million ride-share drivers. We’re not at autonomous on-demand robot cars moving around 24/7 yet. There’s even a “how to” book and podcast covering this gig employment market.

“The funding makes Fidelity one of Lyft’s largest investors with US$800 million in investment. Lyft, which has 35 percent market share in the United States, has investors including AllianceBernstein, Baillie Gifford, and KKR & Co .”

It was only in Q3 2017 that an impressive $1B USD was raised which was led by an arm of Google formerly known as “Google Capital”, since renamed Capital G. (A cousin Google venture arm, Google Ventures, renamed GV had invested in Uber years earlier, with a massive on paper return of about $3.2B USD on top of its 260M USD investment.)

(Regardless I suppose of who “wins”, Google still wins, Waymo notwithstanding.)

(What appears to be a footnote: “Tali Rapaport, VP of product at theridehailing giant Lyft, is leaving the company, per The Information. Rapaport joined Lyft in 2015“)

It’s been long drive from a college student ridesharing outfit started by a duo of idealists building on top of Facebook’s “stack”, and with today’s capital infusion, it won’t be college kids copping lifts to class, it may end with robots on demand giving us back a lot of real estate to be re-used for other reasons.

The co-founders hope for a broader mission to help redesign communities away from one accomodating cars used an average of 4% of the time they are owned, with the remainder of the time relegated to taking up parking space.

This may ultimately be less about “beating Uber” and more about defeating a century of thinking about how cities should look and be lived in.

Originally published at big-stack.com on June 28, 2018.