On-demand car service Lyft may be trying to unseat Uber as the top dog in the marketplace, but it’s doing it in a completely different way. The company has built itself up around a more engaging experience and is also working with partners to help rapidly expand worldwide.
Today, Lyft has announced that its global rideshare partnership has greatly expanded to include GrabTaxi and Ola. Under the terms of the agreement, these companies will collaborate and leverage new technology to make the ride-hailing experience that much better. This builds upon the strategic partnership Lyft formed with China-based Didi Kuaidi in September (Didi invested $100 million in Lyft at the time). Lyft said no financial investments were made by either of the two new partners.
“We’re excited to join with Didi, Grab, and Ola to make global travel simpler for passengers,” said Lyft cofounder and president John Zimmer. “Together they will allow Lyft to offer the world’s best coverage, while building upon our shared vision of reconnecting communities through better transportation.”
With the addition of GrabTaxi and Ola, Lyft will indirectly gain access to new markets in Southeast Asia and India respectively, which could put this alliance on better footing to compete against Uber, which has been rapidly expanding worldwide.
How significant is this strategic partnership? GrabTaxi is claimed to have 95 percent of the market share in Southeast Asia when it comes to third-party taxi hailing, and more than 50 percent market share in private cars. It handles 1.5 million bookings daily across six countries. Ola is available in 102 cities within India and has more than 350,000 vehicles registered on its platform, handling over 1 million bookings a day.
What Lyft is doing now may be almost akin to codesharing between airlines, at least from the technology standpoint. Each company will handle mapping, routing, and payments through a secure API, while also sharing local market knowledge and business resources. The consumer will benefit because they will be able to access local on-demand rides by using the same application they have at home.
“We are pleased to help Lyft, Didi, and Ola offer transportation services in Southeast Asia, where the significant diversity of language, culture, and social practices across the region can be challenging for foreign companies to navigate,” said GrabTaxi chief executive Anthony Tan. “Under this umbrella, we see many opportunities to share ideas and best practices — from product innovations to driver support, technology developments, and approaches for managing local operations in a rapidly-scaling organization.”
This news comes as Uber is reportedly going to raise $2.1 billion in funding at a $62.5 billion valuation, with investments from Tiger Global Management. The inclusion of this firm is notable because Tiger Global backs Didi Kuaidi, Ola, and GrabTaxi — which are all competitors of Uber and are now aligned with Lyft.