It would be an understatement to say last week was not a good one for Uber. Its CEO made callous remarks about customer privacy, sparking a firestorm of bad publicity and reports on the company’s “frat house ideology” and trust problem. Then one of its execs was loose-lipped about plans to dig up dirt on Uber critics, prompting a user-generated campaign to delete the app. Not surprisingly, bad news for Uber appears to be good news for competitor Lyft, which claims it gave a record number of rides last week, Venture Beat reported.
Although Lyft would not give details on the numbers, this news suggests that formerly loyal Uber customers may be open to switching rideshare services. Until recently, Uber and Lyft probably seemed interchangeable to many, although pink-mustachioed Lyft has always marketed itself as a friendlier everyman alternative to Uber’s more corporate image.
To capitalize on Uber’s recent problems, Lyft has taken the subtle, if not high road, approach with a tongue-in-cheek email it sent to its customers Wednesday. The playful, cartoony message references its “fist bumps” (discouraging “stuffy handshakes”) and mentions “all the new faces” who have joined Lyft of late.
Not only are Lyft rides up, but according to one app tracker, Uber’s download rank has plummeted in the past week. Of course, investors don’t seem to mind: It’s rumored that Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price Group are in discussions for a new round of financing that would value Uber at roughly $35-40 billion, larger than Hertz and Twitter. After all, banker culture is more simpatico with frat house ideology than pink mustaches.