Alphabet Shows Support for Lyft with $1 Billion Investment Round

Alphabet Leads $1B Investment in Uber Rival Lyft

The ride-hailing app on Thursday said it has secured $1 billion of new funding led by an Alphabet fund that boosts its valuation by some 50% to $11 billion. Six months ago, Lyft raised $600 million from a conglomeration of investors. As part of the arrangements done to facilitate the $1 billion financing on Lyft, David Lawee, a partner in CapitalG, is also joining the ride-hailer's board of directors.

"Ridesharing is still in its early days and we look forward to seeing Lyft continue its impressive growth", Lawee said in a statement.

Lyft has gained market share in the US this year as Uber suffered from executive turnover and self-inflicted wounds, including a protest over the company's ties to the Trump administration.

Lyft is deepening ties to Alphabet despite its partnership with General Motors, which has invested $500 million.

In February, Waymo, Google's self-driving vehicle company, had filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly using its stolen technology on autonomous driving.


Lyft has had talks with investment banks about an initial public offering next year, according to two people briefed on the discussions, who asked to remain anonymous because the conversations are confidential. The great interest Alphabet has in this small ride-hailing startup indicates that the Waymo autonomous vehicle technology might get better integrated into Lyft's transportation system.

CapitalG is a separate entity from GV, Alphabet's venture capital arm, which invested in Uber in 2013. This once-promising partnership went sour once Uber began dabbling in self-driving auto tech, essentially intruding on the territory of Waymo. Waymo has accused Uber of stealing trade secrets after it hired a former Google employee.

"It is another punch by Alphabet at Uber", said Erik Gordon, an entrepreneurship expert at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. The attitude has worked in one sense - at its last funding round it tipped the scales at almost $70 billion. As the Financial Times described it, this means that Google's parent company, which is a major shareholder in Uber, is "switching sides" at a significant moment.

"This thing likely goes up from here", Maris said. Lyft's losses stood at $600m, but later the company stated that it would become profitable by 2018. Even if the SoftBank deal goes through as expected, a well-financed Lyft is a blow for new Uber Chief Executive Officer Dara Khosrowshahi.

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