Funding News San Francisco

Lyft closes $247M F round, led by Saudi Prince

On 29 December 2015, the San Francisco based ride sharing service Lyft closed a $247.7 million Series F round.1 While this figure is impressive, perhaps the most interesting tidbit about this deal is the lead investor. Saudi Arabia’s Prince al-Waleed bin Talal, through his Kingdom Holding Co. investing entity, “is paying $104.9 million for a 2.3% stake as part of a larger investment by an unnamed group spending $247.7 million for a 5.3% of the San Francisco-based company.”2 This investment round pushes Lyft’s value to just south of $5 billion.

Lyft-App Lyft closes $247M F round, led by Saudi Prince

While this investment does boost the company’s financial standings, Lyft is still a distant second to Uber. The San Francisco Business Times does a good job of putting this into perspective:

Lyft is valued at around $4.9 billion, while Uber has a valuation of almost $63 billion.3

According to internal documents obtained by Bloomberg, Lyft is struggling to maintain profitability:

The company lost $127 million in the first half of 2015 on $46.7 million in revenue, according to private fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg…In the first half of the year, Lyft generated less revenue, lost more money, and added fewer customers than projected in February. The numbers suggest Lyft has had to burn through cash as it chases growth in a competitive industry.4

With all that said, Lyft has a significantly higher valuation than Uber did at around the same stage.5 This could be a product of Lyft entering into a more defined market, but it still stands to reason that the company is in decent shape.

  1. VCNewsDaily, “Lyft Pulls In $247.7M,” 29 December 2015  
  2. Ibid  
  3. Riley McDermid, San Francisco Business Times, “Lyft rakes in $105 million from billionaire Saudi prince,” 28 December 2015  
  4. Eric Newcomer and Alex Barinka, Bloomberg, “Leaked Lyft Financials Show the Struggles of Being No. 2 Behind Uber,” 18 November 2015  
  5. Ryan Lawler, TechCrunch, “Uber Looking To Raise An Uber Round Of Funding Led By TPG, At A $3.5B Valuation,” 25 July 2013