Uber has had a pretty tough year, and it just got $1 billion dollars rougher. After much speculation and rumor, Alphabet, Google’s parent company, just invested the whopping sum in Uber’s chief rival Lyft. Through its CapitalG investment branch, Alphabet led a massive new round of investment that puts Lyft’s post-money valuation at $11 billion. That’s up from $7.5 billion after another investment round earlier this year. Lyft has been putting all that cash to good use, pushing expansion hard into new states and massively upping the number of rides its given this year.
While it’s still behind Uber in terms of market share, Lyft has been far ahead in public perception since Uber got tangled up in the hot mess that was Trump’s first attempt at an anti-Muslim travel ban. Since then, Uber’s headlines this year have included such black marks as the #DeleteUber campaign, a public tantrum by CEO Travis Kalanick, a mass exodus of C-suite leadership, rampant sexual harassment, and horrifying mistreatment of an Indian rape victim.
Meanwhile, Alphabet has a sunnier view of Lyft’s prospects. As CapitalG partner David Lawee said of the billion dollar deal, “Ridesharing is still in its early days and we look forward to seeing Lyft continue its impressive growth.” And Alphabet isn’t the only one who thinks so. Lyft has also seen investments from General Motors, along with Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten.
The next step is turning those dollars into miles. As Lyft points out on its company blog, “The fact remains that less than 0.5% of miles traveled in the U.S. happen on rideshare networks.” That’s something that all ride-share startups would like to see change now that 95% of the U.S. population is in the network of Lyft or one of its competitors. To compete in this industry, it’s all about converting traditional commuters to a new mode of transportation.