Uber rival Lyft acquires Indian startup to build large-scale infrastructure

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Image: AP/REX/Shutterstock

After its “anti-Uber alliance” with India’s homegrown cab-hailing service Ola, along with two others, Lyft is now tapping into the country’s technology talent.

The U.S. firm has reportedly acquired Pune-based startup FinitePaths, creator of Trail Answers, a Quora-like app that offered answers to user questions using social, local and contextual signals.

FinitePaths has stopped signing up new users and will shut down the app over the next two weeks. Its founders, Vinay Kakade and Balaji Raghavan, will join the Lyft team to help build its “large scale infrastructure and services”.

Prior to setting up FinitePaths in 2015, the founders worked on building large-scale infrastructure and search engines for a decade each. 

Vinay served in Amazon, co-creating its CloudSearch platform and Yahoo! Research. And Balaji worked with Google before leaving as its engineering director in 2015.  

Venture Beat quoted Lyft’s VP of Engineering, Luc Vincent, as saying: “We are very excited to have Balaji and Vinay join our team… We see this experience as playing a critical role in helping us tackle some of the unique challenges we have at Lyft.”

Lyft is aggressively expanding in the U.S. and claims to be servicing 37 million users now.

In a company blog titled “Lyft Crushes 2017 Goal in 3 Months” it said: “At the start of 2017, we set our sights on launching 100 new cities in one year. After rolling out the welcome mat to 40 cities in January, 56 in February, and 35 in March, we’ve reached over 131 new cities in three months — 31% higher than our original goal.”

The ride-sharing app also witnessed a 3 percent jump in adoption due to the #DeleteUber movement in the wake of Uber’s travel ban and sexual harassment scandals last month.

Reports also suggest that Lyft might soon be looking at a global expansion to take on Uber. 

In India, meanwhile, the ride-sharing space is steaming up with Uber’s continued efforts as well as Southeast Asian rival Grab‘s possibly imminent entry. And then there’s market leader Ola to contend with too.

Lyft will surely have its work cut out for it if and when it decides to launch its service in the country. 

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