Lyft announced today that Alphabet’s investment arm CapitalG—formerly known as Google Capital—leads a $1 billion (£760 million) investment round in the ride-sharing company.
In a blog post, Lyft stated that the investment pumps its valuation up to $11 billion (£8.4 billion) and that CapitalG Partner David Lawee is joining the Lyft board.
Google’s parent company has reportedly been considering investing heavily in Lyft since at least September. But the technobromance first began to bud back in May, when Alphabet’s autonomous vehicle development company Waymo partnered with Lyft, which gave Waymo a major boost in its effort to catch up with Uber—its main rival in the self-driving car wars.
Initially, Alphabet teamed up with Uber. Back in 2013, Google Ventures (which is separate from CapitalG and is now just called “GV”) made its largest investment ever—$258 million (£196 million)—in Uber as Alphabet chief legal officer David Drummond joined the Uber board. While the pair made headlines as early as 2015 for “going to war over self-driving taxis,” other partnerships between the companies have followed. In March 2016, Google built an “Uber tab” inside its Maps app.
But relations soured when Waymo sued Uber in February after an Uber engineer allegedly stole designs and trade secrets relating to self-driving cars. Since then, Uber has hit consistent challenges with multiple embarrassing revelations detailing toxic corporate culture and systemic mismanagement. Meanwhile, Lyft has seen an uptick in rides and revenue, and has been making overtures to London transport officials as a possible first step towards transatlantic domination.
Now Alphabet is betting big that Lyft could catch up while Uber is down. [Lyft]