Lyft has doubled its valuation in a little more than a year. Once the also-ran in ride hailing, it’s now worth over $15 billion. The latest jump comes after a recent $600 million funding round. One segment of the business seeing exceptional growth is its business unit headed by David Baga, chief business officer at Lyft. “We have grown 17x since Q1 2016, and we’ll exit this year on a billion dollar run rate.”
Baga helped create the division to work with enterprises and organizations. “We provide rides for all the people that they care about. That could be their employees. It could be their patients in health care, the students on campuses. It could be citizens working with transit authorities and city governments.“
Lyft has partnered with JetBlue (JBLU) to provide rides to passengers during weather delays and cancellations. Walt Disney (DIS) is another partner. “We power what they call Minnie Vans on their Disney World Campus in Orlando: red-and-white polka-dotted minivans that you can request through the regular Lyft app that are powered by Lyft. Their drivers are in character costumes,” according to Baga.
‘We’re still just getting started’
Health care may be the biggest opportunity Baga sees. He says 3.6 million Americans miss medical appointments because patients don’t have access to a safe ride when they need them. “That’s a huge burden on the health care industry. It relates to about $150 billion in just missed appointments alone,” he says.
Lyft is trying to be part of the entire health care continuum. It’s already partnering with the top five health systems in the country. “We have partnered with payers like Blue Cross Blue Shield to bring Lyft as a benefit into their 160 million members,” says Baga.
Baga also sees Lyft as playing a role in the nation’s record low unemployment. “We’ve partnered with some of the largest employers in the country to be able to create a temporary benefit for using a Lyft credit to be able to get to an employment center, to get to a recruiting event, or to be able to show up for work.”
With Lyft coming on strong and Uber trying to right the ship, Baga seems space for both ride hailing companies. “When investors are looking at a category, they’re often looking for a billion dollar opportunity. And here we’re talking about a $2 trillion opportunity … Both businesses are very large already. But we’re still just getting started. There’s so much innovation that has yet to happen.”