US-based cab hailing app Lyft has acquired FinitePaths, a Pune and San Jose (California) based startup for an undisclosed amount, reports ET. FinitePaths built Trail Answers, a ‘Quora-like’ mobile app allow users to ask questions and answer questions within a local community. The company said in a blog post that it would be shutting down the Trail Answers app, while its founders Balaji Raghavan and Vinay Kakade will join the Lyft engineering team in the US. FinitePaths was founded in 2015. Prior to this, its founders worked with companies like Amazon and Google.
Trail Answers works by retrieving a user’s location and connecting him/her with other users nearby. This allows users to interact, ask questions and provide answers to other users within an interest group, community or within a hyper-local locality. Lyft hasn’t exactly provided the reason behind the acquisition. But it comes at a time when the company said it is in the process of expanding operations into 100 new cities within the US.
This is the company’s fifth acquisition since launch in 2012. In June 2015, Lyft acquired group messaging app Leo to improve its app features. In September 2014, it acquired ride-sharing app Hitch for an undisclosed amount to take on rival UberPool and other ridesharing competitors. In April 2014, Lyft had bought another ridesharing app Rover, primarily to kick start its ridesharing option. In March 2013, Lyft had acquired on demand carwash startup ‘Cherry’ just before it started expanding into new cities.
Funding and partnerships
In January last year, Lyft secured its biggest funding round of $1 billion led by General Motors at a $5.5 billion valuation. It has raised more than $2 billion from multiple rounds of funding from prominent investors like Rakuten, Alibaba, AFSquare among others. Apart from this, a notable fundraise came from China’s cab hailing startup Didi Kuaidi in December 2015, which put $100 million in Lyft, primarily to expand services. In the same month, Lyft, Ola from India, Didi Kuaidi from China, and GrabTaxi from Singapore joined hands in a strategic alliance to roll out product and help better each other’s services. The Ola-Didi-Grab alliance effectively stands dissolved following Uber’s sale of its China operations to Didi.