Back in 2007, we started Zimride with the idea that through transportation, we could build a community to forge personal connections, reduce carbon emissions, and save people money. Over the next several years, we set out to do exactly that. We steadily built the user base, increased revenue, and were on the way to achieving our goals.
As we rolled into 2012, we saw an opportunity to take advantage of the ubiquity of smartphones by launching a real-time, peer-to-peer service. This simply was not possible at Zimride’s inception. But to take a stab at this new idea, we needed to divert precious financial and human capital away from our original business.
From a business perspective, we knew it was risky to take resources away from a steadily growing company and shift them to an unproven idea. It was emotionally challenging as well, given all the energy we’d invested in Zimride over the past five years.
While the decision was a tough one, we knew that the potential for Lyft was too significant to let it pass—and that we would regret holding back. So we launched Lyft in mid-2012. Almost immediately, we experienced unprecedented demand. Lyft is now operating in 20 cities across the country, and we continue to see rapid growth within our community.
Looking back, loosening our grip on Zimride to create Lyft was the riskiest, but best, decision we ever made. It’s a great reminder that being open to taking risks is essential. If you truly believe in an idea, holding yourself back is the biggest risk of all.