Ridership and bookings of the ride-hailing app Lyft ramped up in the first quarter of 2017 amid troubled times for its main competitor Uber, Bloomberg reported. Company fundraising documents obtained by Bloomberg said Lyft is beating its own growth expectations and it told prospective investors in March that it plans to net $800 million in Q1 bookings — more than 2x the amount from the year-ago period.
Those same fundraising documents noted Lyft would lose $130 million in Q1. Lyft lost an estimated $600 million total in 2016, unnamed sources told Bloomberg.
Despite the lift, Lyft remains a far second to Uber's service, as it only has market share in the U.S. where Uber is available in some 75 countries. Uber netted a total of more than 6x Lyft's bookings last year. Both companies are privately held.
Lyft's recent successes point to how far a bit of counter-programming can go to raise brand value and awareness. Amid a number of missteps and controversies swarming Uber throughout Q1 — from the consumer-lead movement #DeleteUber to behind-the-scenes sexual harassment allegations — Lyft was there as a viable, less prickly alternative every step of the way.
Uber's woes kicked into full gear when it continued to pick up passengers during taxi protests over President Donald Trump's executive order banning people traveling from seven Muslim-majority nations from entering the U.S. The continued service was construed as strike-breaking, and the hashtag #DeleteUber quickly went viral on social media, reportedly costing the app hundreds of thousands of users and rocketing Lyft to the top of the app store.
Lyft hit 22.8 monthly million rides in February, in the immediate wake of the #DeleteUber movement — a 137% jump from the same month last year, Bloomberg said, citing the fundraising documents.
Uber was also under fire around the same time for CEO Travis Kalanick holding a position on Trump’s economic advisory board, which he has since left due to backlash. In the thick of the controversy, Lyft donated $1 million to the American Civil Liberties Union, per Bloomberg, and has continued to pursue charitable initiatives as it positions itself as more a socially-conscious competitor to Kalanick's company.
"We're woke. Our community is woke, and the U.S. population is woke," Lyft President John Zimmer told Time magazine late last month. "We’re a better boyfriend."