Lyft, Inc. is a transportation network company (TNC) based in San Francisco, California and operating in 640 cities in the United States and 9 cities in Canada. It develops, markets, and operates the Lyft mobile app, offering car rides, scooters, and a bicycle-sharing system.
|Traded as||NASDAQ: LYFT (Class A shares)|
|Industry||Transportation network company|
|Founded||June 9, 2012Zimride)(as|
|United States, Canada|
|Logan Green, CEO|
John Zimmer, President
Jon McNeill, COO
Brian Roberts, CFO
|Revenue||US$ 2.157 billion (2018)|
|US$ -911.3 million (2018)|
|Total assets||US$ 3.76 billion (2018)|
|Total equity||US$ -2.87 billion (2018)|
General Motors (6.6%)
Fidelity Investments (6.5%)
Andreessen Horowitz (5.3%)
|Footnotes / references|
Lyft is the second-largest TNC with a 30% market share in the United States, according to Second Measure.
Most jurisdictions regulate TNCs and TNCs are banned from operating in some jurisdictions. For more information, see Legality of TNCs by jurisdiction.
Riders must download the Lyft mobile app to their iOS or Android-based phone, sign up, enter a valid phone number, and enter a valid form of payment (either a credit card, or link to an Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or PayPal account). Once the trip is completed, funds are debited from the funding source.
Passengers can then request a ride from a nearby driver. Once confirmed, the app shows the driver's name, ratings by past passengers, and photos of the driver and car. Drivers and passengers can add personal information to their profiles about their hometown, music preferences, and other details to encourage drivers and passengers to converse during the ride. After the ride is over, the rider is given the opportunity to provide a gratuity to the driver, which is also billed to the rider's payment method.
Lyft offers five types of rides within the app:
- Shared Ride, which is not available in all cities, is the cheapest option and will match passengers with other riders if they are going in the same direction.
- Lyft is the basic and most popular offering that matches passengers with nearby drivers.
- Lyft XL matches passengers with a vehicle that can seat at least 6 passengers.
- Lux matches passengers with a luxury vehicle that seats at least 4 passengers.
- Lux Black matches passengers with a luxury black exterior vehicle ride that seats at least four passengers.
- Lux Black XL matches passengers with a black exterior luxury car that seats up to 6. (i.e.: SUVs with highly rated drivers).
Lyft scooters cost USD$1 to unlock and 15 cents per minute to ride.
- All drivers undergo background checks including Department of Motor Vehicles, sex offender registries in the United States, and personnel-type criminal background checks. The criminal background check goes back 7 years and includes national and county-level databases, as well as national sex offender registries.
- Drivers must be 21 years or older and have had a driver's license for more than one year.
- Lyft has a Zero-tolerance drug and alcohol policy.
After a ride is completed, drivers and passengers are given the opportunity to rate each other on a scale of one to five stars. Any driver averaging a low rating by a passenger will not be matched with that passenger again. Lyft does not allow passengers to know their rating. The ratings establish the reputations of both drivers and passengers within the network.
Although Lyft drivers are classified as independent contractors, Lyft also insures each driver with a US$1 million commercial liability policy that is primary to a driver’s personal policy. Additional coverage includes:
- Contingent comprehensive and collision coverage up to $50,000 with a $2,500 deductible. It applies from the time a driver accepts a ride request until the time the ride is ended in the app.
- Contingent liability coverage up to $50,000 per person/$100,000 per accident/$25,000 property damage. It applies from the time when a driver flips into driver mode until the driver accepts a ride request.
- Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage that comply with local regulations and/or state laws. It applies from the time a driver accepts a ride request in the app until the time the ride is ended in the app.
Green had the inspiration for Zimride after sharing rides from the University of California, Santa Barbara campus to visit his girlfriend in Los Angeles. He had used Craigslist’s ride boards but wanted to eliminate the anxiety of not knowing the passenger or driver. When Facebook opened its API to third-party developers, Green said he thought "Here’s the missing ingredient." Zimride linked drivers and passengers through the Facebook Connect application. By using Facebook profile information, student drivers and passengers could learn about each other. Zimride eventually became the largest carpool company in the United States. Green was introduced to John Zimmer through a mutual friend and the pair initially met on Facebook. The company name came from the country Zimbabwe, where, during a trip in 2005, Green observed locals sharing minivan taxis. Zimride launched at Cornell University, where, after six months, the service had signed up 20% of the campus.
In May 2013, the company officially changed its name from Zimride to Lyft. The change from Zimride to Lyft was the result of a hackathon that sought a means of daily engagement with its users, instead of once or twice a year.
Whereas Zimride was focused on college campuses, Lyft launched as a TNC for shorter trips within cities.
Lyft became known for the large pink furry mustaches drivers attached to the front of their cars. Riders were also encouraged to sit in the front seat and fist bump with drivers upon meeting. In November 2014, the company distanced itself from the fist bump.
In January 2015, Lyft introduced a small, glowing plastic dashboard mustache it called a "glowstache" as an alternative to the large fuzzy mustaches on the front of cars. The transition was to help overcome the resistance of some riders to arrive at destinations, such as business meetings, in a car with a giant mustache.
In April 2014, Lyft launched in 24 new U.S. cities in 24 hours, bringing its total to 60 U.S. cities.
In April 2014, Lyft hired two lobbying firms, TwinLogic Strategies and Jochum Shore & Trossevin, to address the regulatory barriers and opposition it had received since its launch.
Due to regulatory hurdles in New York City, the company altered its business model when establishing Lyft on the East Coast of the United States. Lyft’s launch in New York City occurred on the evening of July 25, 2014 and, in accordance with the Taxi and Limousine Commission (TLC) and the approval of the Manhattan Supreme Court, only drivers registered with the TLC were permitted to drive Lyft-branded vehicles in New York City.
In August 2014, the company introduced a shared ride concept, which provides cheaper fares.
In September 2015, Lyft announced a relocation of its customer service operations to Nashville and mentioned that a full relocation would be possible in the future from San Francisco.
In December 2015, Lyft became the first TNC allowed to pick up passengers at Los Angeles International Airport.
In May 2016, Lyft began offering a service to let clients schedule rides up to 24-hours in advance.
In January 2017, the company announced its 160 millionth ride.
In January 2017, Lyft announced it would add 100 U.S. cities, bringing its total to 300 U.S. cities served.
In July 2017, the company announced that the Walt Disney World Resort "Minnie Van" service will be powered by Lyft. Users staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels are given the option to hail a "Minnie Van" via the Lyft app. A Minnie Van, a Chevrolet Traverse with Minnie Mouse inspired exterior theming, driven by a Walt Disney World Cast Member can take guests to and from any destination within the Walt Disney World Resort for a flat fee of $20 per ride. Lyft Founder John Zimmer said of the partnership "Playing a part in a family’s experience at the most magical place on earth is a dream come true."
In March 2018, Lyft partnered with Allscripts to create a platform allowing healthcare providers to arrange rides for patients who lack transportation to appointments. The service would be available to 2,500 hospitals, 180,000 physicians, and approximately 7 million patients.
In November 2018, Lyft acquired Motivate, a bicycle-sharing system and the operator of Capital Bikeshare and Citi Bike. The company also announced plans to add 28,000 Citi Bikes and expand its service.
In December 2018, Lyft launched additional scooter fleets in Arlington County, Virginia, Atlanta, Austin, Texas, Los Angeles, Nashville, Tennessee, San Diego, Santa Monica, California and Washington, D.C..
Lyft was valued at US$15.1 billion as of summer 2018. Prior to January 2016, Lyft had raised more than US$2 billion from investors such as General Motors (US$500M), Alibaba Group, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, DiDi, fbFund, Floodgate Fund, Fontinalis Group, Fortress, Founders Fund, GSV Capital, Icahn Enterprises, Janus Capital Management, K9 Ventures, Mayfield Fund, Prince Alwaleed's Kingdom Holdings Company, Rakuten, Tencent, and Third Point Ventures.
In April 2014, Lyft completed a $250 million Series D financing round led by Coatue Management, Alibaba Group, and Andreessen Horowitz, bringing its total amount raised to $332.5 million. In March 2015, the company received a $530 million investment from a group led by Japanese online retailer Rakuten Inc. In May 2015, Lyft received an additional $150 million in investment, including a $100 million investment from Carl Icahn based on a valuation of $2.5 billion, which brought the total raised to over $1 billion.
In February 2016, Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia made an investment in Lyft which included the purchase of $148 million worth of existing stock from Andreessen Horowitz and Founders Fund.
In October 2017, Alphabet Inc. took a $1 billion stake in Lyft via its investment arm, CapitalG.
In December 2017, Lyft raised $500 million from Fidelity Management & Research Company and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund.
In June 2018, Lyft said that it raised an additional $600 million primarily from existing investors, valuing the company at $15.1 billion.
In 2014, the company grew ride numbers and revenue fivefold.
Unwanted text messagesEdit
In November 2018, Lyft settled a class action suit filed in 2014 alleging that the company had sent large numbers of unwanted commercial text messages. In addition to $4 million in payments to consumers, the plaintiffs sought $1 million in legal fees.
Self-driving car researchEdit
As early as 2012, Green wanted to pitch investors on self-driving cars as part of Lyft's future offering. Green envisioned a few big networks of self-driving cars, similar to AT&T and Verizon.
In January 2016, Lyft announced an autonomous car partnership with General Motors. On May 5, 2016, Lyft and General Motors announced, as part of their partnership, that they planned to begin testing self-driving cars within the next year. They were considering using a self-driving Chevrolet Bolt for this purpose.
On June 6, 2017, Lyft announced a new partnership with Boston-based autonomous self-driving car start-up NuTonomy with the aim of eventually putting thousands of autonomous, on-demand vehicles on the road.
On March 14, 2018, Lyft partnered with the largest auto part suppliers in North America, Magna International, with the motive to co-fund, develop, and manufacture autonomous vehicle systems which will help to produce self driving technology that will be available to all car manufacturers.
In October 2018, Lyft acquired Blue Vision Labs, a London-based augmented reality startup, for an initial $72 million price. This expertise is expected to help autonomous cars to extract useful information from street-level images.
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