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Ride hailing is almost sysnonymous with Uber, owing largely to its controversies and rapid expansion. But there are other major players in the space. One of those players, Lyft, the San Francisco based ride sharing service provider, and it has just raised US$530-million in its new funding round led by Rakuten.
Rakuten, a Japanese e-commerce giant, has contributed $300 million of the Series E round. This sees Rakuten acquiring 11. 9 % stake in Lyft.
“We have seen the future and this is it. By empowering human connection, the sharing economy is going to fundamentally transform the service industry and benefit society,” Hiroshi Mikitani, founder and CEO of Rakuten said, “We believe businesses like Lyft that unlock the latent potential that exists in people and society hold the key to the future.”
The new round of funding values the company at US$2.5-billion, a fraction of Uber’s US$40-billion value. There is also quite a difference in the number of cities the two operate in. Lyft operates in 65 markets whilst Uber is in 250. It is worth noting that Lyft is currently only available in the US whilst Uber is available in other continents.
Lyft says that the funding will help it affirm its US footprint in the 65 markets where it operates, help it continue is quest to find the “right balance between humanity and technology” by hiring the best talent and to develop technology that reduces traffic and lastly, the company plans to expand the vision for Lyft Line, stating “We’ll continue investing in the Lyft Line experience as we’ve been doing for the past six months. The new capital will allow us to continue to improve this experience and bring Lyft Line to more cities”.
John Zimmer, co-founder and President of Lyft, said: “With this new investment, we are closer than ever before to realizing our vision of re-connecting people and communities through better transportation.”