Published: Sat, October 21, 2017
Technology | By Russell Knight

Lyft raises £750m from Google's owner in blow to Uber


Alphabet already has a relationship with Lyft through a deal Lyft struck with Waymo - Alphabet's self-driving auto arm - earlier this year.

Lyft, which is now a distant second to Uber in the ride-hailing market, said the latest round of funding would boost its valuation from $7.5bn to $11bn. Four TfL officials met two Lyft executives - the company's chief strategy officer and its director of global government relations - in December 2016, before having multiple follow-up conversations remotely over the next couple of months and a second face-to-face meeting in NY in March. It was last valued at almost $70bn.

The funding is being led by CapitalG, Alphabet's growth investment fund, which has also backed tech companies such as home-renting platform Airbnb and payments firm Stripe.

Now that Lyft is growing even closer to the Alphabet family with the $1 billion investment, it is giving one of the seats on its board of directors to a CapitalG partner — David Lawee.

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The investors in that round included KKR, Baillie Gifford, Alliance Bernstein, Canada's Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP) along with Rakuten and Janus Capital.

Bloomberg previously reported Alphabet was considering a $1bn investment.

In June, Lyft announced a partnership with autonomous vehicle technology firm nuTonomy to optimize passenger experience in self-driving cars.

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.

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Alphabet has emerged as a thorn in Uber's side, even though Google was among Uber's early investors and still holds a stake in the company.

Uber mulled acquiring Lyft back in 2014.

Both companies are betting the ride-hailing market will continue to expand dramatically and move beyond the largest cities by weaving itself into the transportation fabric of America's heartland. This was also around the same time that Uber was ramping its efforts to be the first ride-hailing company to feature driverless cabs. Alphabet sued Uber for stealing its autonomous vehicle trade secrets in a highly publicised case set to go to court in December. That group includes General Motors, Ford and Nutonomy, as well as Waymo.

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