Liz Gannes

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Lyft Sells Zimride Carpool Service to Rental-Car Giant Enterprise

Enterprise Holdings has acquired Zimride, the peer-to-peer ride-matching service used on college campuses, at business offices, and for long-distance travel.

zimride41Zimride was the first product of the company now known as Lyft, which has seen more growth and interest in its local ride-sharing service, where people can hail nonprofessional drivers via smartphone app.

Enterprise, which owns Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car, will continue to operate Zimride.

The main motivation for the sale was to allow Lyft to focus on just one product, said co-founder John Zimmer today. Some 90 percent of Lyft’s 80-person staff was already dedicated to Lyft, not Zimride.

The pink-mustachioed Lyft hail-a-ride business is only a year old, while Zimride has been out for more than five years. Lyft also faces furious competition from Sidecar, UberX and others, as well as continued regulatory battles in places like Los Angeles, which recently sent out cease-and-desist notices to all three companies.

However, Zimride has some 350,000 college and corporate users — Zimmer said Lyft has “hundreds of thousands” — so it is not insignificant. The company was one of the first to require Facebook authentication for all users, so they could feel safe jumping into other people’s cars and trusting strangers to ride in their own.

Zimmer noted that Enterprise’s fleet of vans would be an especially good fit for Zimride’s “vanpool” users.

The Enterprise purchase of Zimride follows the (much, much larger) deal for Avis to buy Zipcar earlier this year. “Everyone in the car business is realizing transportation can change with new technology,” Zimmer said today.

San Francisco-based Lyft raised $60 million led by venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz in May.


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