Rajil Kapoor

@rajilkapoor

My New Journey

I’m excited to share what I’m up to next…first some context…

What makes us happy? Lots of studies show its when you have a sense of purpose, when you live a life of significance (as I’ve discussed in this essay). I’ve had the opportunity to think hard about purpose and significance this past year as I’ve taken my first work break after 24 years of running fast…

After much introspection and heaps of help from friends and family, I’ve found my purpose — its using technology to help urbanization happen the right way.

This evolved from an issue I care about deeply — reducing the threat of climate change. Governments, consumers and businesses don’t seem to be going green for the sake of it — despite the widespread awareness. However, they are spending a TON ($5 trillion) as we expand into and create new cities globally (2.5B people migrating over the next 10 years — which is the same timescale to make a difference in climate change). With technology and this existing spend, we can rethink transportation, energy, healthcare, food, housing, and infrastructure to do it the right way. Data is the new currency to make this happen and of course, software is now eating the city…

I explored a number of investing and operating opportunities around this mega trend over the past year. I decided that being an operator is my calling. I just love leading, motivating, building products and teams, and getting realtime feedback from the marketplace.

After looking far and wide, the answer was in front of me — working with dear friends — Logan Green and John Zimmer at Lyft. I’ve joined as their Chief Strategy Officer.

I’ll be tasked with helping the talented senior team find new business opportunities relevant to Lyft that make the world a better place.

Why Lyft?

Purpose

Transportation is one of the most exciting areas right now — its going thru massive change and it has a major impact on the environment and our everyday lives (it’s the #2 household expense). Lyft has a compelling vision for the future of transportation and cities which I believe in wholeheartedly. And they have the team, product, and resources to get there.

People

Working with people I enjoy, love, and respect is critical. I’ve worked with John and Logan as an early investor, board member, and spent a lot of time with the team going deep in the early Lyft days while I was a VC. I’ve seen them perform incredibly well through all the ups and downs. They do so with grace, warmth, and thoughtfulness while also moving aggressively fast. They are my tribe. They bring out the best of me and I have much to learn from them and their team.

Role

The work at Lyft will allow me to think creatively, move quickly, and flex my VC and entrepreneurial muscles in an area I care about deeply — it’s the elusive combination I’ve been looking for. The disruption coming from autonomous vehicles also brings me back to my roots when I worked on autonomous robots at Carnegie Mellon in the early 90s — full circle!

Here’s the autonomous robot — the ‘Tesselator’ — i worked on at CMU for NASA in the early 90s

Momentum

I haven’t seen such momentum in a market or company like Lyft in my career. The demand for their services is through the roof, they’ve executed well, and there is room for multiple players. In fact, we just surpassed $2B in annual GMV run-rate and now operate in 200 cities — with much more growth to come.

I’m looking forward to the ride of a lifetime with the Lyft family!

Topics of interest

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