It’s been a pretty big news day for Lyft, but let’s make it even bigger. TechCrunch has learned that Zimride, parent company behind the ride-sharing service, has closed a new, $15 million round of funding led by Founders Fund. Existing investors Mayfield Fund, K9 Ventures, and Floodgate also participated in the round.
Representatives at Zimride wouldn’t talk about the funding, giving us the usual “not commenting on rumors and speculation” line. The company had previously raised about $7.5 million since being founded in 2007, including a $6 million Series A round in September 2011.
According to sources, the funding closed recently, as Lyft is intent on expanding into new markets beyond San Francisco. It announced earlier today a launch into its first new city, opening for business in the Santa Monica and Venice sections of L.A. on Thursday. Over time, the company plans to add cars and drivers in other parts of the city, and we can expect that the service will launch in new regions as well.
The company also announced that it had struck an interim agreement with the California Public Utilities Commission, marking its first big regulatory win. With that deal, the PUC waived fines that were previously levied against Lyft and will allow the company to continue operating while it contemplates new rules that could legitimize ride sharing in the state.
Lyft isn’t the only ride-sharing service raising money and expanding to new markets: San Francisco-based competitor SideCar raised $10 million from Lightspeed Venture Partners and Google Ventures. Since then, it’s launched in the Seattle area and is expected to expand to even more markets soon.
And, of course, there are other alternative transportation apps that Lyft competes with: There’s Uber, the granddaddy of the e-hail apps, which has raised about $50 million over the years, and is increasingly introducing low-cost ride options such as UberTAXI and UberX in all of its markets. There’s also growing awareness around traditional taxi-hailing apps like Flywheel and Taxi Magic.
All in all, there’s increasing competition in urban transportation. With $15 million more in cash, Lyft is set to go up against Uber, SideCar, and others in new and existing markets.