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October 21, 2016

Lyft ups ante against Uber with two key executive hires

Rajil Kapoor, the venture capitalist who helped Lyft secure series A funding will now join the ride-hailing company as its chief strategy officer.

By James Nunns

Lyft has hired Rajil Kapoor as the company’s first ever chief strategy officer and Melissa Waters as the vice president of marketing, as the company looks to compete against bigger player Uber.

According to Lyft, Rajil is a person who has worked on finding ways for technology to bring about urbanisation in a positive way, which aligns with its vision in many ways.

Kapoor was the CEO & Co founder of Snapfish.

Kapoor was the CEO & Co founder of Snapfish.

Rajil Kapoor already has several years of experience in successfully creating brands. He co-founded Snapfish and was the CEO of the company. The company was acquired by HP in 2005, after it had created a customer-base of 100 million users.

After Snapfish, Rajil moved to Mayfield Fund and was instrumental in the series A funding for Lyft and had also joined its board as a member. He later co-founded Fitmob and was its CEO as well.

In his blog, Rajil Kapoor noted that, right now transportation is one of the key and exciting areas and it is going through phenomenal changes with major impact on the environment and on our daily lives as well.

Rajil Kapoor said: “The work at Lyft will allow me to think creatively, move quickly, and flex my VC and entrepreneurial muscles in an area I care about deeply — it’s the elusive combination I’ve been looking for.

“The disruption coming from autonomous vehicles also brings me back to my roots when I worked on autonomous robots at Carnegie Mellon in the early 90s — full circle!”

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He continued: “I haven’t seen such momentum in a market or company like Lyft in my career. The demand for their services is through the roof, they’ve executed well, and there is room for multiple players.

“In fact, we just surpassed $2Bn in annual gross merchandise value (GMV) run-rate and now operate in 200 cities — with much more growth to come.”

On the other hand, Melissa Waters has over 15 years of experience in building tops brands, and joins Lyft as the vice president of marketing.

She will lead the ride-hailing company in evolving its brand image and upgrade the marketing strategy to bring sustained growth.

For quite some time now, Lyft had been lagging behind in challenging its bigger rival Uber. Uber now has the resources and scale of business in its favour, so now it has focused on autonomous driving.

The idea behind hiring Rajil Kapoor is not react to market developments, but to explore new markets altogether to take the business further ahead.

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