Peer-to-peer ridesharing company Lyft, a San Francisco based taxi hailing company launched in June 2012 is set to launch in Kenya between May and June according to people familiar with the matter.
The Kenya Lyft team is working day and night to get everything in order; from market research to registration and eventually hiring. After that there will be a call for driver partners and their eventual training. At the moment, there are no vacancies for Lyft Nairobi and there is nothing much on social media and press about Lyft Nairobi.
According to Crunchbase, Lyft is valuaed at over $5.5 billion and like its name, it connects passengers who need a ride to drivers nearby. First launched as Zimride, the firm focused on lifts for longer journeys and linked car owners to passengers going the same direction. The Lyft concept was a pivot to ridesharing for short trips say in one city from an estate to another or from an estate to the city centre.
With plans to focus on short distance trips, Lyft sold its Zimride arm in 2013 to focus on short intercity trips. The firm has raised $2.5 billion from funds such as Coatue, Alibaba, and Andreessen Horowitz, Floodgate, K9 Ventures, fbFund, Rakuten, Carl Ichan, General Motors and Prince al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia among others.
There are three-way to ride with them. Lyft, the original one where one or three passengers take a ride the Uber style. Lyft Plus is a six-passenger ride for a group of friends and Lyft Line is like a morning lift from a friend headed to work in the same direction.
There is also Lyft for Work, what the firm calls the future of employee transportation. Lyft for Work aims to simplify the process of getting employees around.
It will be interesting how Lyft and Uber works in Kenya (Africa) having in mind that Lyft has partnerships with China’s Uber competitor Didi Chuxing and India’s Ola Cabs to take out Uber in all this markets. It’s interesting given the fact that Easy Taxi is shifting base back to Latin America away from Africa and Asia, markets that Uber is strongly interested in.