Light Reading

Lyft Drives Mobile VC Funding to $1.4B in April

Dan Jones
5/22/2014
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San Francisco-based driver-finding startup Lyft drove to the top of another huge month for mobile venture capital funding, according to the latest report from Rutberg & Co.

Rutberg & Co. reports that mobile-focused private companies raised $1.4 billion in 121 deals during April, adding to the whopping $1.1 billion raised in March this year.

Here are the top five earners in April:

Table 1: Five 5 Mobile VC Fundings in April

Company Location Funding Amount Developing Backers
Lyft San Francisco $250M Ride-share app & service Alibaba, Andreessen Horowitz, Coatue Management, Founders Fund, Mayfield Fund, Third Point Ventures
Prodea Systems Richardson, Texas $100M An Internet of Things platform Mubadala Development Company
Fuhu El Segundo, Calif. $65M A tablet for children N/A
Apigee Palo Alto, Calif. $60M An API-management system Bay Partners, BlackRock, Focus Ventures, Norwest Venture Partners, Pine River Capital Management, SAP Ventures, Third Point Ventures, Wellington Management
SimpliSafe Cambridge, Mass. $57M A connected home platform Sequoia Capital
Source: Rutberg & Co.

Rutberg also notes that Internet of Things (IoT) startups are getting plenty of money and attention from their VC pals now:

    Six IoT companies raised $174 million in April, including $100 million for Prodea Systems... Other IoT companies that raised venture capital in April include: Jasper Wireless, which raised $50 million from Temasek Holdings, a Singaporean sovereign wealth fund; Ayla Networks, which raised $14.5 million from investors including Cisco Systems, Crosslink Capital, and the IFC; Evrythng, which raised $7 million from investors including Atomico and Cisco Systems; Understory, which raised $1.9 million led by True Ventures with participation from investors including RRE Ventures and SK Ventures for its ground-level wireless weather detection network; and Huminn Mesh, which raised $300,000 from undisclosed investors.

Follow the VC money further below:

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
6/8/2014 | 10:56:21 PM
Re: Lyft
briandnewby - Taxi regulations generally ensure drivers are qualified and vehicles are safe. Sometimes they go too far and amount to regulatory capture, where the regulated business uses control over government to enact rules to prevent competition. Seems like a mix of both going on here.
jamesandrew684
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jamesandrew684,
User Rank: Light Beer
6/6/2014 | 3:21:09 AM
Re: Lyft
If government regulates these ride share services, then it ll become a quite useful for both cabbies and passengers. But still many major cities allows unregulated taxi dispatch system, however its good alternative for traditional cab services.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/28/2014 | 3:58:31 PM
Re: Lyft
briandnewby - I suspect there's a mix of good motivations and bad in local governments' cracking down on ride-sharing services: Protecting citizens, protecting tax and fee revenue, and protecting political cronies. 
pcharles09
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pcharles09,
User Rank: Light Beer
5/27/2014 | 7:57:32 PM
Re: Lyft
That's what you would hope for. In NYC, it still scares me but hopefully it'll decrease the amount of cabs cutting each other off for a fare.
briandnewby
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briandnewby,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/27/2014 | 4:06:12 PM
Re: Lyft
Well, if it's a win-win, no wonder there are hurdles :-)

I don't know enough about the history of taxis to know why the regulations exist.  It makes sense, of course, to regulate fares so that unsuspecting newcomers at the airport aren't taken to the, um, cleaners instead of their destination.

So, I'm sure there is more to regulating than a revenue source for the city.  But, my hunch is that the revenue source is the motive for cities being resistive now.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/27/2014 | 2:07:45 PM
Re: Lyft
Sounds like an opportunity for all the cab drivers to spend less time waiting for a fare, while customers spend less time waiting for a cab. Everybody wins.
briandnewby
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briandnewby,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/24/2014 | 9:30:19 AM
Re: Lyft
I imagine the drivers would like it.

On the other hand, in big cities, where cab drivers wait at the airport for hours at times, I imagine they wouldn't like it if others didn't have to follow the same rules.

On the other, other hand :-), maybe those rules need a swift kick.  I feel bad when someone has waited so long and my cab ride is just a $20 thing.

In the end, after cab costs and counting the wait time, the cab driver made about $5 an hour, at best.
DanJones
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DanJones,
User Rank: Blogger
5/23/2014 | 1:58:50 PM
Re: Lyft
I haven't done the numbers but the driver-finder, rride-sharing apps startups have garned vast amounts of money over the last couple of years. $280M for Uber, $250M for Lyft. There's got to be a shake-out at some point soon.
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
5/23/2014 | 1:54:34 PM
Re: Lyft
The taxi and limousine lobby is powerful in many US cities, and they stand to be the big losers from rideshare businesses like Lyft and Uber. 

I've been concerned that services like Lyft and Uber would depress wages for drivers. But the drivers I talk to love it. They say it gives them more money, more freedom, and better working conditions. 
briandnewby
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briandnewby,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/23/2014 | 1:46:31 PM
Re: Lyft
I haven't used Lyft, but Lyft is involved in a fairly public controversy in Kansas City and I'm assuming the company is facing that in many communities--essentially unlicensed taxis that is only a concern to those who pay to be licensed and the cities that receive such licensing money.

It's the kind of disruptor that is probably impossible to stop, but there is at least a fair amount of risk that the business model could get, um, "Tesla'd."

I'm surprised so much money has been put into it.
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