Lyft raises $530 million in latest funding round

The ride-hailing company will use the money to grow in the U.S. and launch its service abroad

Lyft has raised US$530 million in its latest funding round, and plans to use the money to beef up its IT staff, expand its footprint and boost existing services.

Japanese e-commerce company Rakuten led the round. With the latest cash infusion, Lyft has raised a total of $862 million from investors. The ride-hailing company is now reportedly valued at $2.5 billion.

Lyft, based in San Francisco, said Wednesday it will use the funding to increase its presence in the 65 U.S. cities where it operates and to expand to other markets.

Some of the cash will also be used to extend to other cities the Lyft Line service, which lets people traveling in the same direction share a ride. Lyft also plans to hire more technology workers.

Rakuten, which poured $300 million into this series E round, acquiring an almost 12 percent stake in the company, said the money will allow Lyft to invest "in both domestic and overseas expansion."

Lyft's rival Uber is valued at $40 billion and operates globally.

Fred O'Connor writes about IT careers and health IT for The IDG News Service. Follow Fred on Twitter at @fredjoconnor. Fred's e-mail address is fred_o'

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