Careers at Lyft
Lyft’s mission is to reconnect people and communities through better transportation.
Logan Green grew up in Southern California, where everyone needed a vehicle to get around. When he went to college, he decided to challenge himself by leaving his car at home and trying different modes of transportation. He used buses, trains, and ride shares, but they all proved inconvenient. So when he learned his school was exploring a car-sharing program, he joined the planning team.
The program involved students signing up online to reserve a car from a fleet, unlocking it with an RFID card. He spent two years working with the school to fund it, but graduated before it got off the ground. Then in 2005 he took a trip to Zimbabwe, where he observed residents efficiently carpooling with their minivans. The success of their efforts inspired him to start a business of his own.
In 2006 Facebook unveiled the first version of its API, enabling third-party developers to create applications. Green used it to build an online platform for college students to identify and make carpools available to others – calling it Zimride. It offered more security than other sources such as Craigslist as customers could see a driver’s face before they agreed to be driven.
During this time Green met John Zimmer, an entrepreneur who was interested in a car-sharing business for an environmental reason – increasing the occupancy rate of cars on the road. They partnered, and within three years signed dozens of universities to license Zimride, and a few companies. They then introduced an option for consumers in general. However, it didn’t take off.
The two came up with a related idea – specifically, a service that enabled consumers to book a driver through a mobile app. Drivers would be regular people instead of licensed employees, and it would ensure security by conducting background checks. Wanting to separate its identity from Zimride, they called it Lyft, introducing it in 2012. It is now one of the most popular ride-sharing programs.
Benefits at Lyft
Business model of Lyft
Lyft has a multi-sided business model, with two interdependent customer segments that are both needed in order to operate: consumers who need to be driven and drivers who can transport them.
Lyft offers four primary value propositions: accessibility, convenience, risk reduction, and brand/status.
The company creates accessibility by offering a broad range of options. It is available in 68 cities across the U.S., as well as in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, The Philippines, and Vietnam. It also offers variety in terms of vehicle choices, which are as follows:
- Lyft Line – Shared rides in which riders have the same destination, enabling them to split the cost.
- Lyft – Personal rides that passengers can use individually or with a few of their acquaintances.
- Lyft Plus – Personal rides that utilize larger vehicles (six seats) for a high number of passengers.
- Lyft Premier – Personal rides that utilize high-end vehicles for occasions such as business trips.
The company offers convenience by making its service easy to use. Customers can order a ride using a mobile app on their phone. Because the firm utilizes local drivers, they often arrive within minutes. After the ride, customers can pay for it using the app, preventing the need for cash or cards.
The company reduces risk by maintaining high standards through the following policies:
Critical Response Line – Lyft maintains this line, a 24/7 phone number that passengers/drivers can call if they feel their safety is threatened. Calls are handled by the Trust & Safety team.
DMV and Background Checks – Lyft screens all potential drivers through third-party criminal background and DMV checks. Background checks include county and national-level databases and records, and Lyft disqualifies anyone with crime, felony, drug-related, or sex offense convictions.
Vehicle Inspections – Lyft screens all cars of potential drivers through a 19-point inspection. Cars are not allowed on the road if they are older than 12 years.
Zero-Tolerance Policy – Lyft has a zero-tolerance alcohol and drug policy for its drivers. Passengers who suspect their drivers are under the influence are given a number and e-mail to contact.
Two-Way Ratings – Lyft enables passengers and drivers to give each other satisfaction ratings after each ride. If they rate someone at three stars or below, they will never be matched with them again.
Lyft Insurance Protection Plan – Lyft maintains an insurance plan that provides drivers with additonal coverages. It offers a $1 million liabiity and uninsured/underinsured policies apply as primary to a driver’s personal automobile insurance policy when matched with a rider.
The company has established a strong brand due to its success. It has overseen the sharing of over 10 million rides. It has been featured in prominent media such as The New York Times, The Economist, and NBC’s “Today Show“. Lastly, in 2013 San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee proclaimed July 13th “Lyft Day“.
Lyft’s main channel is its mobile app. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, online advertising, out-of-home advertising, and participation in conferences.
Lyft’s customer relationship is primarily of a self-service, automated nature. Customers utilize the service through the main platform while having limited interaction with employees. The company’s website offers videos, tutorials, and answers to frequently asked questions. That said, there is a personal assistance component in the form of phone and e-mail support.
Lyft’s business model entails maintaining a robust common platform between two parties: passengers and drivers. The platform includes its website and mobile app.
Lyft maintains the following types of partnerships:
- Business Partners – Companies can give their customers discounted or free Lyft rides for visiting their sites or store location, and earn side income for helping to promote Lyft.
- Non-Profit Partners – Non-profit associations can partner with Lyft for assistance in raising funds and mobilizing supporters.
- Student Group Partners – University student groups ranging from school newspapers to fraternities can partner with Lyft to receive affordable rides to important meetings and other events.
- Ambassadors – Lyft invites anyone to promote the company by acting as an Ambassador. These individuals receive marketing materials and represent the firm at events in major cities. They also earn $10 per passenger referral, as well as up to $750 for each driver referral, and earn swag and cash bonuses if they pass certain milestones.
Lyft’s main resource is its proprietary software platform, which serves consumers in over 68 cities. It also depends on its human resources, namely the network of drivers it hires to transport consumers in their cars. Lastly, as a relatively new startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $2.01 billion from 34 investors as of December 2015.
Lyft has a cost-driven structure, aiming to minimize expenses through significant automation and low-price value propositions.
Its biggest cost driver is likely transaction expenses, a fixed cost. Other major drivers are in the areas of sales/marketing and customer support/operations, both fixed costs.
Lyft has two revenue streams: revenues it earns from a rider fee and then a commission fee it charges drivers for each completed ride. It currently charges a commission fee of 25%.
info: Logan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Economics at UCLA, Santa Barbara. He previously served as Co-Founder and CEO of Zimride, as a Sustainability Coordinator at UCSB, and as a Board Member of the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District.
info: John earned a B.S. in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. He previously served as Co-Founder of Zimride and as an Analyst at Lehman Brothers, and worked at ESPN. He has been recognized as one of Businessweek's Top 25 Entrepreneurs Under 25.
info: Chris earned a B.S. in Computer Science at Northeastern University. He previously served as a Software Engineer at Google and as a Software Engineering Intern at Intel.
info: Komal earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at University of Florida and an MBA at Harvard Business School. She previously served as Director of Customer Care and Director of Trust & Safety at Lyft, and as a Consultat at Bain & Co.
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