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Lyft raises $250M to fuel international expansion

Lyft has now raised $333 million, more than any other on-demand car service, including Uber

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
April 2, 2014 | Comments
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/3610

The on-demand transportation space might have a new leader, now that ride-sharing service Lyft has taken on a huge new funding round that pushes its total funding past all competitors, including Uber.

The company has raised $250 million in funding from existing investors Andreessen Horowitz, Founders Fund and Mayfield, along with new investors Coatue and Alibaba, it was announced on Wednesday.

This is Lyft's biggest funding round by far. It previously raised $82.5 million including $1.2 million in seed funding from Floodgate, K9 Ventures, and various angels and then another $6 million in a Series A round of funding led by The Mayfield Fund, with participation from Floodgate and K9 Ventures.

The majority of its funding was raised in the last year, including $15 million from Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund, K9 Ventures, and Floodgate in January 2013, and then another $60 million from Andreessen Horowitz in May. This latest round brings its total funding to a total of $333 million.

The company says it will use the funding to for expansion, both domestically and internationally.

"With this investment, we can bring Lyft to more cities and we can do it faster. Last year we went from 2 to 30 cities, and we’ve seen how universal this need is," Lyft spokesperson Paige Thelen told me. 

Lyft is currently available in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Columbus, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Madison, Nashville, Orange County, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Providence, Sacramento, San Antonio, San Diego, Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Seattle, Silicon Valley, the Twin Cities and Washington D.C.

The company started was originally named Zimride, and it was launched by Logan Green and John Zimmer in 2007. Zimride was an online service that connected passengers and drivers via their Facebook profiles to share the cost of a road trip. The service became especially popular with college students.

As Zimride grew, the company then decided to launch a ride-sharing service, called Lyft, in May 2012. That proved to be a turning point, as Lyft turned out to be more popular than Zimride. Lyft quickly became where the company put its focus and Zimride officially changing its name to Lyft in May of last year. 

Lyft sold off the Zimride app to Enterprise Holdings in July.

With this latest funding round, Lyft has now surpassed Uber, which has raised $307 in total funding, including $258 million from Google Ventures, along with TPG Capital, in August of last year, at a $3.5 billion valuation. Meanwhile Hailo, another competitor, has only raised $77 million.

Thelen would not reveal what Lyft's current valuation is following this latest round. 

So does this put Lyft at the forefront of the space?

"We’re focused on what we’re doing, and this investment will help us continue to grow rapidly. People love Lyft because of the the peer-to-peer experience it offers, and we were the first to do that," Thelen said.

(Image source: lyft.com)


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