Founders John Zimmer & Logan Green Explain How Lyft Was Born Out Of Zimride

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Lyft founders John Zimmer and Logan Green shared the backstory of how they chose to sell off their original core business, Zimride, to focus on Lyft on stage today at TechCrunch Disrupt.

Zimmer and Green started Zimride in 2007 as a peer-to-peer ride sharing company after Green was frustrated with stagnated public transportation.

“Lyft came out of a hackathon project where we were trying to figure out what does Zimride look like on mobile,” Green said, noting that they initially thought of calling Lyft “Zimride Instant.”

On May 22, 2012, Zimride launched Lyft to give Uber some low-priced private driver/Taxi competition. At the time, Zimride had two other pillars of its business: ride sharing for long-distance car rides, and a University program where Zimride charged colleges for specific campus car-sharing programs. With Lyft, Zimride had hooks in short, urban ride sharing to complement its long-distance and campus ride sharing services.

A year later, Lyft was giving 30,000 rides a week and raised a $60 million round led by Andreessen Horowitz. The company sold off the Zimride assets to Enterprise on July 10, 2013, as Lyft’s growth was far exceeding the other parts of Zimride.

“That was mentally difficult,” Zimmer said. “It was a tough switch, but Logan and I were pretty decisive about it…About a month or two after [launching Lyft], after feeling the weight of trying to do two things really well, we said ‘Let’s focus.’”

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