Lyft, the taxi-hailing app, recently launched in New York which was, in certain quarters and in certain publications, big news. It was a story I followed and I figured that Lyft would want to make the most of the attention and notoriety they had obtained. Sure enough, I received the following text message when I signed up.
I'm struck by a couple things here but for today I just want to highlight the "wealth transfer" that occurs in funded startups' early days.
The thing to note is that these rides are not actually "free". The drivers are getting paid it's just not me who's doing the paying. Who is? The investors, of course. The idea of giving away things for free has been in vogue for a while among tech companies. Similarly, the idea of jumping ship to substitute "free" services when companies start charging has been in vogue for a while among tech consumers. Case in point, I've been listening to music that investors have paid for my entire adult life.
So far I've taken three or four rides "for free" and want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the following individuals and institutions. May your investment continue to battle it out with Uber, Hail-o and every other new and well-funded entrant for years to come!