Google's parent company leads $1 billion investment in Lyft

John Zimmer

The round was led by CapitalG, the growth investment fund of Alphabet that has also backed large tech companies such as home-renting platform Airbnb and payments firm Stripe.

The funding marks a major shift in Alphabet's allegiances away from Uber Technologies Inc., and suggests a tighter pairing of its Waymo autonomous vehicle technology with Lyft's transportation network.

Google's parent company has reportedly been considering investing heavily in Lyft since at least September. Any attempt to move into global markets would likely be a rather costly endeavor for Lyft that the investment from Alphabet could potentially help foot. GV invested in Uber in 2013 but has since had a strained relationship with the ride-hailing company, as Uber began to develop autonomous cars and compete directly with Alphabet.

CapitalG partner David Lawee will join the company's board, Lyft said, bringing it to a total of 10 directors. Uber has the scale, but Lyft's less aggressive approach is paying off. It was last valued at almost $70 billion. But the relationship fractured as Uber started working on self-driving cars in competition with Waymo.

David Drummond, an SVP at Alphabet, left Uber's board in 2016 citing "the overlap between the two companies".

That represents a big increase from the $7.5 billion valuation Lyft was given after its last funding round in April, but still puts it far behind Uber Technologies Inc. As Axios's Dan Primack reports, Uber's most recent formal report placed its valuation around $60 billion, but SoftBank originally proposed pricing Uber as low as $50 billion.

Spokespeople for Lyft and Alphabet have said the latest investment will not have any bearing on the Waymo partnership. Lyft has also flirted with global expansion, while Uber already operates in more than 70 countries.