The Uber versus Lyft battle has always been heated. Uber was accused of sabotaging Lyft and stealing its drivers. Lyft launched its own aggressive recruitment campaign by hosting free lunches for drivers.
Troy Carter, the only known investor in both, doesn’t see this ending with one defeating the other, though.
“I don’t think this is going to be a winner take all market,” Carter said.
It might not look that way right now because these companies are fighting over the same drivers and the same passengers, Carter said.
“You’re basically competing with the same exact product,” Carter told Business Insider in an interview. “Coke and Pepsi are at least in different cans. Lyft and Uber drivers are just swapping out the mustache for the U on the dashboard, depending on which one they’re getting the call on.”
Carter continued, “So eventually in North America, they’re going to be competing on who can get there quicker on price. The consumer will eventually choose who the winner is going to be at that time, and what’s going to be most convenient and cost effective for the consumer.”
That doesn’t mean all-out elimination for the other. It simply means one company will have to do something to distinguish itself.
While other Uber investors like Chris Sacca have already called Uber as the winner, Carter sees a future where they both companies exist in the fabric of the transportation ecosystem. After all, they were two distinct companies with different ideas when Carter first invested in them.
He first invested in Lyft’s predecessor, Zimride, when it was a carpooling platform to connect dorms to college campuses. Six months later, Carter invested in Uber when it was still Uber Black, a limousine-only ride-hailing service. Zimride eventually spun out Lyft and Uber launched UberX, its lower cost option. Only then did they start to compete directly, Carter said.
“When we look at transportation in America, there’s going to be companies like Magic Bus, where you have these private bus fleets, you’re going to have carpooling, you’re going to have these different types of transportation. It’s going to be a full ecosystem, but it’s not going to be a winner takes all,” Carter said.