Lyft rakes in $1 billion in funding round led by Alphabet’s CapitalG

Lyft padded its war chest Thursday with another $1 billion, raising the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company’s valuation to $11 billion.

CapitalG, the investment fund run by Google parent company Alphabet, led the funding round, Lyft wrote Thursday in a blog post. And as part of the deal, CapitalG partner David Lawee will join Lyft’s board.

Lawee has a five-year history with Google, and before that, was a founder of online gaming startups Xfire, which was acquired by Viacom.

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The cash infusion sets Lyft up as one of the 15 most valuable private companies in the world, according to data from CB Insights. But Lyft still falls far short of Uber, which is worth nearly $70 billion.

Reports that Alphabet was eyeing an investment in Lyft first surfaced last month.

Lyft has been announcing good news left and right this year, while its larger rival Uber stumbles. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigned in June after a series of scandals, including accusations of sexism and sexual harassment in the company, federal probes into Uber’s actions, and a lawsuit accusing Uber of stealing self-driving car competitor Waymo’s technology. To top it all off, Uber’s board recently plunged into a very public war. Major investor Benchmark sued Kalanick, and Kalanick, in turn, undermined new CEO Dara Khosrowshahi’s authority by naming new board members without consulting him.

Meanwhile, Lyft is using the controversy surrounding its rival to grow its own brand and expand to more cities. The company earlier this year said it launched in 131 new cities in the first three months of 2017 — making short work of its original goal to reach 100 new markets by the end of the year.

“2017 has been an important year for the Lyft community,” the company wrote in its blog post. “Earlier this month, we completed our 500 millionth ride and our service is now available to 95% of the U.S. population — up from 54% at the beginning of the year.”

Photo: Lyft’s signature mustache (Courtesy of Lyft)

 

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