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US-based ride-hailing service Lyft has acquired Pune-based startup FinitePaths for an undisclosed sum as it follows its larger rival Uber in tapping India's large talent base to solve its global technology problems.
Vinay Kakade and Balaji Raghavan, co-founders of FinitePaths, will join the Lyft team and will shut down their startup's sole product offering which is available on Google and Apple's app stores. The announcement comes at a time when India is emerging as a talent hub for ride-hailing companies.
"We are very excited to have Balaji and Vinay join our team. They have extensive experience building large scale infrastructure and services. We see this experience as playing a critical role in helping us tackle some of the unique challenges we have at Lyft," said Luc Vincent, VP of Engineering at Lyft, in a statement.
Uber opened its technology development centre in Bengaluru in February 2016, with the mandate to build solutions for the local market which could then be exported to other markets. The company's 'pay-by-cash' model which was built out of India is now available in several Southeast Asian markets.
Apart from Uber, it's Southeast Asian rival Grab recently announced its plans to setup a research centre in Bengaluru where it would employ 200 engineers that would largely work on payment technologies. The firm has already hired Raghuram Trikutam, former VP of engineering at digital payments firm Freecharge, to head its engineering at its India centre.
Similarly, Indonesian bike taxi service Go-Jek has acquired three Indian startups - Pianta, C42 Technologies and CodeIgnition, to shore up talent for its development centre here. The top management of Go-Jek India centre come from local service Ola which pioneered the ride-hailing market in the country.
Prior to starting FinitePaths Kakade headed engineering at Amazon's CoudSearch division in India, while Raghavan quit Google in late 2015 as an Engineering Director at Google in the Bay Area. "The technical challenges are exciting and we believe we can make the right contributions based on our prior experience and what we have built at FinitePaths," the two wrote in a joint post announcing the acquisition.
FinitePaths has stopped accepting new user signups for its Trial Answers app, which would serve users with local context laden answers for their questions, and said that it will shut down the app over the next two weeks.