Lyft taxi app boosted by $1bn investment from Google-led consortium

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Alphabet led a $1 billion investment in Lyft, bringing its valuation to $11 billion. Six months ago, Lyft raised $600 million from a conglomeration of investors. That's well above what Lyft wanted in a buyout previous year and compares to the $7.5 billion it was valued at just 6 months ago.

As part of the move, David Lawee - CapitalG partner and former Google vice president of corporate development - will join Lyft's board.

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

Lyft, which runs a distant second to Uber and is only based in the U.S., has pushed expansion this year.

Under the partnership, the two companies will align their technology platforms to collect data for research and insights into the various aspects of passenger comfort and safety during a ride in an autonomous vehicle. Ride-hailing supremacy in the U.S.is still up for grabs, with Alphabet placing its latest bet on Lyft, while SoftBank backs Uber.

Alphabet's funding boost will help Lyft step up its challenge just as Uber faces up to the potential loss of its London licence.

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In February, Waymo, Google's self-driving auto company, had filed a lawsuit against Uber for allegedly using its stolen technology on autonomous driving. This once-promising partnership went sour once Uber began dabbling in self-driving vehicle tech, essentially intruding on the territory of Waymo.

That's still a fraction of Uber's market cap, which is somewhere between $50bn and $70bn, but it pegs the company as a major domestic competitor to the trouble-stricken cab firm. It also claims to have completed its 500 millionth mile.

Bill Maris, founder of GV who has since left to run his own venture capital firm, told Reuters last week there is a strong case for GV to sell.

The new investment further complicates the convoluted web of financial relationships in the ride-hailing industry, where companies like Lyft and Uber have hauled in enormous amounts of funding from firms that often put money into in competing companies. The people went on to say that it is yet to be decided on which company will be the primary underwriter of Lyft for the I.P.O.

This funding round may delay those IPO plans, however, as the capital will allow Lyft to continue growing its business privately. As a result, Lyft has announced that it's looking for ways to go public before the end of next year.

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