Listen to this article
General Motors, Chinese internet companies Alibaba and Didi Chuxing, Saudi Arabian royalty… and now one of the biggest private-equity funds.
Ride-hailing company Lyft has added Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) to its lengthening roster of investors. The New York-based buyout firm said it had joined a previously reported funding round that it put at $600m – though it didn’t say how much of the money had come from its own coffers.
Arch-rival Uber has already lined up one of the biggest private-equity names in the form of TPG — founder David Bonderman has made much of using his international connections to help develop Uber’s overseas business.
Now it’s the turn of KKR’s George Roberts to speak up for Lyft. The co-founder appeared to make a veiled dig at Uber’s recent spate of very public troubles as he paid tribute to Lyft’s “differentiated customer-centric culture.”
In a note on its blog, KKR took further swings at Lyft’s larger rival. Head of TMT growth investing, Vincent Letteri, said the firm had first become interested in Lyft after quizzing drivers about which ride-hailing app they preferred to use. And he praised Lyft’s “mature, focused management team” — calling to mind the harsh spotlight that has fallen on Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick this year.
The latest round takes Lyft’s total fund-raising to $2.1bn – massive by the standards of a normal tech startup, but still only a quarter of the amount amassed by its bigger rival.