Lyft, the peer-to-peer car sharing application for smartphones, has just landed a nifty $60 million in Series C funding from one of the most influential venture capital firms, Andreessen Horowitz, after one year of operation. The new infusion of cash helps Lyft to lay the monetary ground work for the company to expand both internationally and at home.
And it's more than just cash that Lyft won. Access to key advisors, from Washington D.C.'s former mayor Adrian Fenty to former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summer, are now at Lyft's disposal for advice on navigating the tricky streets of city politics and regulations. You see, car sharing applications haven't had the easiest market introductions thanks to politically embedded taxi cab companies and city regulators who approach such services with a suspicious eye.
Lyft launched in San Francisco –– the home of car sharing competitors Uber and SideCar –– in May of 2012. The service has since rolled out to other cities like Chicago, Los Angeles and Seattle, and it has set its sights on New York City. The same New York City which recently rendered most rentals through home-renting service Airbnb (another company funded by Andreessen Horowitz) illegal and has pushed to make car sharing applications –– like Lyft –– very illegal.
But this doesn't bother Lyft founder John Zimmer, who tells TechCrunch that the service will eventually be adopted in cities that actively push transport regulations and bring car sharing services to court.
"I think this is the year for a lot of that [regulation] to get ironed out," Zimmer said to TechCrunch's Ryan Lawler. "Our approach is and always will be to work together with regulators and stress what's important, which is safety. I think technology can actually get us to a safer place."
Safety has been one of the biggest critiques by the taxi industry, which claim passengers are putting themselves at risk by getting into cars with strangers who may or may not have the right insurance.
But Lyft says the service, which supplies an average of 30,000 rides a week, is quite safe, implementing many safety checks for both passengers and drivers.
Despite the varying concerns from interested parties, Lyft appears to be growing at a steady pace, and, as Zimmer says, will hopefully go global 12 months time.