While Uber flails, Lyft plans to scoop up cash

While Uber makes apology after apology for a series of embarrassing crises, Lyft is pitching to investors.

Uber’s smaller ride-hailing rival is gathering participants for a new funding round that the company hopes will reach at least $500 million, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing anonymous people familiar with the confidential matter. Lyft reportedly hopes the new funding will value the company between $6 billion and $7 billion — up from the company’s current value of $5.5 billion.

And Lyft isn’t the only ride-hailing company that’s springing into action while Uber’s down. China-based Didi Chuxing is in talks with investors about raising billions of dollars, according to Bloomberg. Didi was Uber’s main rival in China for years, and finally bought Uber’s business in the country last year.

But wait, there’s more! UCAR, a Didi rival in China, this week said it has raised $670 million, TechCrunch reported.

Meanwhile, Uber has been in damage-control mode ever since the company was accused last month of protecting a manager who sexually harassed a female engineer and behaved inappropriately with other women. Earlier this week CEO Travis Kalanick apologized and promised he would seek leadership help after a video surfaced of him arguing with an Uber driver over rates. On Monday Kalanick forced the resignation of a senior executive after it came to light that the executive had been accused of sexual harassment while working at Google. And last week, a New York Times investigation found Uber managers had groped and threatened employees.

Meanwhile, Lyft is making moves, and the timing of some of the smaller company’s actions suggest it’s taking advantage of Uber’s mistakes. Last week Lyft rolled out its biggest launch yet, expanding to 54 new cities.

It’s too soon to tell if Uber’s faltering will be a boon for Lyft, but the smaller company has enjoyed an anti-Uber boost before. Lyft in January for the first time surpassed Uber in downloads on the Apple App Store, following a push to #DeleteUber that went viral on social media. Users were upset by Uber’s handling of a taxi strike at New York’s JFK International Airport intended to protest President Donald Trump’s controversial immigration order. Uber deactivated surge pricing in the area, letting passengers travel to and from the airport at a lower cost, which some users saw as strikebreaking.

Photo: A vehicle with both Lyft and Uber windshield decals is parked Monday afternoon Dec. 14, 2015, near Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Calif. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

 

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