Lyft Inc. is adding Hiroshi Mikitani, chief executive officer of Rakuten Inc., to its board, bolstering its leadership ranks to help the ride-sharing company expand and compete against Uber Technologies Inc.

The Japanese e-commerce company is one of Lyft’s biggest backers and recently invested $300 million into the San Francisco-based startup as part of a $530 million funding round that valued Lyft at $2.5 billion.

Lyft, which only operates in U.S. markets, has lagged behind better-funded competitor Uber, which offers mobile car- booking services in more 300 cities worldwide. The two startups have expanded rapidly, attracting investors with their model of connecting drivers and passengers using smartphones and software. That has disrupted established taxi and limousine companies, while opening the door to new transport businesses, such as home deliveries and courier services.

Mikitani “will be Lyft’s champion as we continue to deepen Lyft’s presence in the U.S. and explore new opportunities for expansion,” the company said in a statement.

In a confidential presentation to prospective investors, Lyft said that it has the potential to strike partnerships with incumbent local ride-sharing companies around the world, avoiding a hodgepodge of rules and regulations.

Lyft co-founders Logan Green and John Zimmer sit on the startup’s board, along with investors Scott Weiss of Andreessen Horowitz, Geoff Lewis of Founders Fund and Jonathan Christodoro of Icahn Enterprises.


This article was written by Eric Newcomer from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

Photo Credit: Logan Green, Lyft co-founder, discusses the ride-sharing service at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco in 2013. JD Lasica / Flickr