Lyft, the ride-hailing startup, is close to raising higher than $500 million in funding, giving it a valuation of $7.5 billion, reported Fortune Magazine.
Fortune, citing an unnamed source, reported Lyft has been working on a capital raise for some months now as it aims to expand and take on Uber. The report noted it hired Qatalyst Partners to help it attract investors and capitalize on problems going on with rival Uber. The two compete in the same industry, but Lyft has been trying to position itself as a nicer version of Uber, noted the report.
Last month it rolled out a new way for riders to easily donate to charities. In the app settings, riders can select “Round Up and Donate.” After that, the cost of every ride will round up to the nearest dollar, with the additional change going to charity.
While Mashable noted that users can’t select which individual charities the donations will go to, Lyft allows users to select from categories such as “environment,” “veterans” and “LGBTQ,” among others. The latest move by Lyft not only allows users to benefit others, but it also acts as a subtle jab at rideshare competitor Uber, which hasn’t had the best of luck in terms of public image in the past few months.
In January if 2016, Lyft raised $1 billion, giving it a $5.5 billion valuation. In March, Lyft expanded into ten new cities in the U.S. and is now currently in 100 new cities since the start of the year. In the past three months alone, its operations have expanded by 50 percent and is now in 300 cities, reported Fortune.
Earlier this year, Uber’s continued activity during a one-hour work stoppage protest by the New York Taxi Workers Alliance at John F. Kennedy International Airport drew ire from users, sparking a social media campaign to delete the ridesharing company’s mobile app. While the exact effect on Uber has yet to be measured, data mobile app analytics firm Sensor Tower reportedly showed that competitor Lyft saw its download ranking on iOS rise to number four this past weekend, up from number 39 the weekend prior.