- Uber and Lyft are doing more than just app-based taxi rides.
- Both companies are investing in self-driving cars and healthcare.
- Uber, meanwhile, is rapidly growing its Uber Eats and Uber Freight businesses.
- We went through each company’s IPO documents to compile the definitive list of the other bets each ride-hailing company is taking.
Uber and Lyft have become synonymous with ride-hailing, but taxi rides are far from the companies’ only business bets.
Between the two, the companies are heavily invested in self-driving cars, food delivery, healthcare, bikes, scooters and more.
Hot on the heels of each company’s attention-grabbing initial public offerings earlier this year, we dove into each company’s freshly disclosed prospectuses to analyze just what other bets they were diving into — and how big those bets are.
Here’s everything Uber and Lyft are doing that isn’t ride-hailing:
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Uber’s approach to self-driving cars
Uber and Lyft are both rapidly investing in autonomous vehicles, but with very different approaches.
Uber is working on the technology through its Advanced Technologies Group, which employs more than 1,000 employees across three offices in San Francisco, Pittsburgh and Toronto.
“ATG has built over 250 self-driving vehicles, collected data from millions of autonomous vehicle testing miles, and completed tens of thousands of passenger trips,” the company said in its IPO documents. “Along the way to a potential future autonomous vehicle world, we believe that there will be a long period of hybrid autonomy, in which autonomous vehicles will be deployed gradually against specific use cases while Drivers continue to serve most consumer demand.”
The company said it will continue partnering with original equipment manufacturers (“OEMs”) and other suppliers, like Toyota and Denso (both of which invested in ATG, which is now a separate business entity, around the time of Uber’s IPO).
Read more: Uber insiders describe infighting and questionable decisions before its self-driving car killed a pedestrian
Lyft’s two-pronged approach to autonomy
Unlike Uber, Lyft is focusing more on partnerships with other companies than in-house development of self-driving cars. On the day of its first quarter earnings, for example, it announced that Waymo self-driving minivans would be available in the Lyft app in certain Arizona locations.
“We have two pieces of our autonomous strategy,” Co-founder John Zimmer told analysts and investors on the earnings call. “One is first party, which is our Level 5 group. We believe we’re in a great position, given our platform, our access to data, and an amazing talented team to build our own self-driving components.”
To date, the company has provided over 35,000 autonomous rides in Las Vegas as part of its partnership with Aptiv.
“Something that’s important to note is that those investments that we’re making today and our first-party system can benefit the existing business even before there’s autonomous vehicles through mapping a better ETAs and therefore a higher utilization and efficiency in the marketplace,” he continued.
“But we are agnostic to where this technology comes from. And so therefore we have a third-party part of our strategy, and Waymo is a phenomenal partner with leading AV technology. And so it’s part of that two-pronged strategy, and it doesn’t affect the other relationships that we have. And you can expect more developments on both sides of that strategy.”
Read more: Lyft executive suggests drivers become mechanics after they’re replaced by self-driving robo-taxis
Food delivery is one of Uber’s most quickly growing businesses. According to its IPO filings, Uber Eats has provided more than 15 million meals in the final quarter of 2018. The service has recruited over 220,000 restaurants in 500 cities worldwide, Uber said.
The company also utilizes virtual restaurants, or “dark kitchens,” as they’re sometimes called, to cook and deliver meals. The only difference is you could never visit the establishment in person — it’s only for delivery meals.
Read more: An Uber Eats executive reveals the company’s surprising strategy for moving beyond taxi rides
In the same way that you can tap a button to get yourself from point A to point B, Uber hopes that freight shippers will want to do the same. According to its stock prospectus, Uber Freight has contracted with over 36,000 carriers and 400,000 drivers. Major enterprises using the service include Anheuser-Busch InBev, Niagara, Land O’Lakes, and Colgate-Palmolive.
Uber Freight brought in $125 million in revenue during the fourth quarter of 2019, Uber said.
Read more: Uber Freight has nabbed execs from Airbnb and Box, plans to double its staff this year, and hinted that international expansion is next
In November 2018, Lyft became the US’s largest operator of bike rentals through its purchase of Motivate, a bike-share operator based on New York. The company now operates bike and scooter rentals in some of the US’s largest cities, including New York, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco, and more through exclusive contracts that give it market monopolies.
The rollout hasn’t been without headaches, though. The company has pledged an additional $100 million investment in expansion of the system, but was forced to unexpectedly take all of its electric pedal-assist models out of service in March 2019 after some users were injured by malfunctioning brakes. A Lyft spokesperson told Business Insider that the bikes will be out of service until at least September.
In May, Lyft bikes became bookable inside the core Lyft app.
Read more: Lyft pulls thousands of e-bikes from New York, Washington D.C. and San Francisco streets after some riders experience ‘stronger than expected braking’
Uber’s Jump Bikes
Uber also waded into the micromobility space in 2018, when it purchased Jump Bikes and began integrating the company’s rental offerings into its core platform. There have been many reported rumors that Uber was interested in buying another e-bike or e-scooter operator, like Lime or Bird, but all three companies have denied the talks every time a new rumor surfaces.
Read more: Uber’s bike and scooter company appears to be expanding around the world ahead of its IPO
In January 2019, Uber announced a partnership with Moovit to see transit schedules and routing inside the Uber app, and a partnership with Masabi to buy train and bus tickets as well. Denver was the first city where the new product went live, with others in the pipeline, Uber’s head of public transit said in an interview.
Lyft, meanwhile, hasn’t invested quite as much into its public transportation offerings. However, users are able to see public transit routes in addition to car rides inside the app in select cities.
“By offering public transit information in addition to our own proprietary offerings, we are furthering our goal of creating a more seamless and connected transportation network and increasing rider engagement with our platform,” Lyft said in its IPO filing.
Read more: Uber has expanded its app to offer public transportation for the first time
Both Uber and Lyft have opened their platforms to specialized medical transport brokers to help get patients to and from their appointments.
“The Uber Health dashboard allows healthcare professionals to arrange rides for patients going to and from the care they need among other destinations. The Uber Health API enables easy integrations into existing healthcare products and workflows,” the company said in regulatory filings.
Lyft’s healthcare is powered by a partnership with Allscripts, a healthcare IT company.
“Allscripts’ integration with the Lyft Concierge API enables providers to request Lyft rides for up to 16 million patients directly within the Allscripts platform,” the company said in filings.
Read more: Uber wants your doctor to call you a ride to your next checkup