Lyft yesterday announced that it has closed out its new $600 million funding round (all primary) at a $7.5 billion valuation. New investors included KKR, AllianceBernstein, PSP Investments and Baillie Gifford. The name that jumps out there is KKR, namely because it has passed on so many prior opportunities to invest in the ride-hail space ― not only in Lyft (where KKR had engaged in due diligence on the prior two rounds), but also in larger rivals like Uber and Didi.
Axios spoke with KKR partner Vini Letteri, who helped lead the deal, about the timing, KKR's investment thesis and an eventual Lyft IPO:
It's not you, it's me: "We did have a lot of earlier chances, but we weren't very well set up as a firm before the TMT growth practice was set up 18 months ago… I also think the regulatory environment is more certain now. Outside of a few geographies, ride-sharing is a generally accepted part of the economy." Discussions between Lyft and KKR on this new round began before Uber's recent travails, and "didn't play a role in our desire to invest."