GM Buys Sidecar’s Assets as It Preps New Transportation Services
This story has been corrected and updated. See below.
Investing a plump $500 million into rival Lyft isn’t the only move General Motors (GM) is making against ride-hailing giant Uber: The company has also bought the remains of recently defunct third-place player Sidecar.
The automaker has purchased Sidecar’s technology and most of the assets, according to a report from Bloomberg and confirmed by GM to Fortune. Though the companies haven’t disclosed terms of the deal, a Bloomberg source says it was less than the $39 million the startup had raised in funding over the years. As part of the deal, 20 of Sidecar’s employees are joining GM, including the company’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Jahan Khanna—but not co-founder and CEO Sunil Paul.
Sidecar closed shop at the end of December after a multiyear fight to stay in the race against rivals Uber and Lyft and their ever-growing war chests and market shares. Though Sidecar was early to the peer-to-peer ride-sharing model, it eventually shifted its business to providing delivery for other companies in 2015. “This is the end of the road for the Sidecar ride and delivery service, but it’s by no means the end of the journey for the company,” Paul wrote in a blog post about the service’s shutdown, hinting that the company already had plans for a next chapter.
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Earlier this month, GM revealed a $500 million investment in ride-hailing company Lyft as part of the startup’s new $1 billion fundraise. As part of the deal, GM said it plans to eventually deploy self-driving cars it’s currently developing into Lyft’s fleet, and GM President Daniel Ammann joined Lyft’s board of directors.
GM is also working on a new set of transportation services around transportation and usage of its cars, dubbed Maven, based on a trademark application the company filed to the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office on Nov. 25. Though Bloomberg originally reported that Maven will include a service that will let GM car owners give rides to passengers going in the same direction, sources close the matter have told Fortune that the company isn’t building this type of service. That service would otherwise compete with GM investment and business partner Lyft. According to Bloomberg, Ammann will head Maven.
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GM will also reportedly get a license to a patent granted to Paul in 2002, titled “System and method for determining an efficient transportation route.” Over the years, Paul and Sidecar amassed a handful of ride-sharing and ride-hailing patents, though they were never successfully enforced.
GM is only the latest automaker to join the ride-sharing craze. In 2014, Daimler (DDAIF) acquired ride-sharing apps RideScout and mytaxi, while BMW has been experimenting with a variety of car-sharing models. Ford (F) was also reportedly testing its own ride-sharing service, it revealed last April.
Correction: An earlier version of this story erroneously reported that GM is planning its own ride-sharing service. The story has been corrected and updated with comments from GM as well.