The same day that U.S.-based ridesharing startup Lyft said it’s on track to hit $1 billion in gross annual revenue this year, the New York Times is reporting that the company is also in talks to raise $500 million in a fresh funding round that would leave it valued at around $4 billion.
That wouldn’t be a surprise, given how quickly main rival Uber has been raising funds for its global expansion. Uber has shown no signs of slowing down — from announcing a new mapping deal with TomTom last week to taking on established players in big markets like China, India, and Southeast Asia.
Lyft, meanwhile, hasn’t enjoyed the same levels of global media coverage. We mostly hear about Lyft when funding rumours spill out (like today), or when it announces major new partnerships like the one it inked with China’s dominant ride-hailing app, Didi Kuaidi, earlier this year.
But we don’t hear about Lyft’s play-by-play to the extent that we do with Uber. And yes, part of that is because Uber is the much bigger beast in the battle, with an enormous global footprint. Sometimes it takes Justin Bieber to help get Lyft into headlines.
But $500 million at a $4 billion valuation is a big round that could help propel Lyft into more regular headlines from here on out (much as Didi’s deal in China could help bring its name to an audience outside the U.S. for the first time). The Times is also claiming in the same report that Uber is in talks for yet another private funding round expected to close in December (at a valuation of up to $70 billion).
By comparison, Uber’s valuation is still pegged at more than $50 billion as of today — meaning investors see Uber as worth more than 12 times what Lyft may be worth after this rumoured funding round. Lyft’s current valuation sits at about $2.5 billion, based on an earlier funding round of several hundred million dollars in May of this year.
While Uber is now available in more than 300 cities across 65 countries (claiming more than 1.1 million drivers on its platform), Lyft is limited to under 200 cities in the U.S., with no global presence at this time.
In any case, it’s an exciting midweek rumour to get people chatting about the space and speculating when the big bad bubble is going to burst and ruin everyone’s fun.