Lyft’s John Zimmer to talk AVs, growth and profit at Disrupt

When the economy tightens and the cost of driving new initiatives cramps growth and profitability, sometimes you just need to overhaul your strategy. Case in point, when ride-hail giant Lyft sold its self-driving unit to Toyota’s Woven Planet, it cut $100 million of annualized non-GAAP operating expenses on a net basis.

Free from the cost of developing its own AV technology, Lyft turned instead to partnerships with AV developers, including Argo, Motional and Waymo. The move allowed the company to focus on the AV goal it claims it wanted all along — to be the ride-hailing network and fleet-management platform of choice by all commercial robotaxi services.

So, where does Lyft stand now in its autonomous vehicle ambitions? That question, and so many more, is the reason we’re thrilled that John Zimmer, Lyft’s co-founder and president, will join us onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt on October 18 to October 20 in San Francisco.

In a fireside chat called “Steering Towards an Autonomous Future,” Zimmer sits down with TechCrunch transportation editor Kirsten Korosec to discuss the autonomous future of transport in general along with a look at Lyft’s AV roadmap. They’ll also dig into the competition Lyft faces, from Uber and others, and whether profitability while maintaining growth is even possible — especially in the face of the company’s recent layoffs and lawsuits.

As the co-founder and president of Lyft, John Zimmer has a mission to improve people’s lives by creating transportation and cities that are more affordable, sustainable and community-oriented. Lyft’s transportation network includes the largest shared mobility network in the United States, with rideshare, bikes, scooters, car rentals and transit.

Zimmer developed his interest in transportation during a college class on sustainable cities, where he learned that cars remain parked 95% of the time. After graduating from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, he spent two years at Lehman Brothers.

In 2008, Zimmer left Lehman to rideshare his way from New York to San Francisco, where he joined co-founder Logan Green to launch Zimride and eventually Lyft. Zimmer currently serves on the board of Culdesac, the first car-free neighborhood in the U.S.

TechCrunch Disrupt takes place on October 18–20 in San Francisco. Buy your pass today and find out why Disrupt is the place where startups go to grow.

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