Merchant Innovation

Lyft Closing The Gap On Uber

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The ride-hailing pioneer is reportedly looking to raise new capital.

Four anonymous people close to the matter told The New York Times that Lyft is currently seeking nearly $500 million at a valuation of approximately $4 billion, a significant jump from its current valuation of $2.5 billion.

But according to the sources, who only spoke to NYT under the condition of anonymity, those numbers are still in flux and may change as funding talks continue.

Last month sources also claimed Lyft’s biggest U.S. rival, Uber, was looking to boost funding as well.

Uber may be planning to raise as much as $1 billion in another investment round that, if successful, would place the company — which was most recently valued at over $50 billion — in a valuation range between $60 billion and $70 billion. NYT noted that the latest round of funding will be the eighth that Uber has sought in five years.

Rather than going public, Uber appears focused on using its significant amount of funds to build out endeavors such as the delivery services, UberEATS and UberRUSH, the multiple passenger-inclusive UberPOOL offering and international expansion in countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and, in particular, China, which CEO Travis Kalanick recently cited (via the NYT story) as currently being home to approximately 30 percent of all trips taken using Uber.

For Lyft, which most recently secured $150 million in funding from billionaire activist Carl Icahn (on top of its $530 million investment round that was led by Rakuten in March), the establishment of strategic partnerships seems to be top of mind.

In September the company teamed up with Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Kuaidi (also another big Uber rival) to support ride services for Chinese Didi Kuaidi app users within the U.S. and vice versa for Lyft riders visiting China.

In a statement announcing the partnership, Lyft said: “Our world continues to become more connected, and yet each market has its own unique culture, challenges and opportunities. Partnering with Didi, the only company that provides complete coverage in all major Chinese cities, is the best way to provide a simple, seamless experience when people travel to China and the United States. Reflecting the specific dynamics of each market, we will have equally unique approaches as we continue to expand.”

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