How Lyft grew to become the corporate with 9 lives

Solely throughout COVID-19 is a 50% decline in enterprise thought of progress.

However that’s precisely the surroundings that John Zimmer, president and co-founder of Lyft, says the ride-sharing firm is going through. At its worst, enterprise was down 75%, he says, and the corporate needed to cut back its workforce by about 17% earlier this year.

And but Zimmer stays optimistic. “We’re in a really robust place to climate this storm, and the storms that we’ve got weathered beforehand have been way more tough,” Zimmer says on this week’s episode of Reinvent, a podcast about preventing to thrive in a world turned the other way up by COVID-19.  

Reinvent co-host Adam Lashinsky describes Lyft as “the corporate with 9 lives” that repeatedly faces “these knockdown moments” however retains getting again up.

Lyft’s struggles have included going through off in opposition to its archrival, Uber. Zimmer says that when Uber raised more than $3 billion in 2016, Lyft was advised it couldn’t compete. After which earlier than the pandemic hit, Zimmer says the corporate was “marching towards profitability.”

“Lyft has been improved by way of adversity and can proceed to get stronger,” Zimmer says, “And I do genuinely assume we can be stronger on the opposite aspect of this.”

Zimmer thinks that there can be a rise in demand for floor transportation post-pandemic as folks need “to return collectively to have a way of neighborhood.”

Ridership is already creeping again up, and Zimmer says that sure demographics—like frontline employees—are utilizing Lyft greater than they have been pre-pandemic. The corporate’s bike-sharing packages have additionally been a brilliant spot, which have surpassed pre-COVID ranges of ridership.

Not like Uber, Lyft hasn’t diversified its enterprise into areas like meals ordering and supply. “We don’t assume the world wants one other a kind of,” Zimmer says. “It’s additionally not our specialty. Our focus is on transportation—on going deep on private transportation.”

Nonetheless, he famous that supply as a approach for drivers to earn more cash is attention-grabbing to the corporate. Lyft has heard straight from retailers and eating places that they don’t need to pay the 20% to 30% being charged by a service like Uber Eats, he says. “They’re coming to us and saying how might we assist them with supply for his or her prospects,” he provides.

Along with dramatically decreased ridership, rideshare corporations like Lyft are concurrently going through massive regulatory hurdles. The California state legislature passed a bill last year requiring gig-economy corporations deal with their employees like workers slightly than contractors. Lyft, Uber, and different corporations are sponsoring a poll initiative—Proposition 22—that makes an attempt to override that state legislation.

Whether or not or not Prop 22 passes, Lashinsky notes that sooner or later, corporations like Lyft are certain to get extra regulated. “If it doesn’t occur this time in November, it’ll occur more and more in different methods in different years,” he says.

Extra coronavirus coverage from Fortune:

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