Lyft was riding high Friday, announcing it had raised $150 million in capital, with $100 million coming from billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn.
Icahn’s investment follows an earlier $530 million round of funding in March led by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten that valued the ride-sharing startup at $2.5 billion.
“We are very happy to be investing in Lyft,” Icahn said in a post on Lyft’s blog. “I believe that ride-sharing is poised to become a fundamental component of our transportation infrastructure. The company’s revenue growth to date has been extremely compelling, and increasing urbanization over the next five to 10 years should enable the company to maintain that trajectory.”
During his long career as a financier, Icahn has been associated with numerous hostile takeover. “For once, a company is excited about adding Carl Icahn as an investor,” The Wall Street Journal said wryly of Lyft’s announcement.
“Betting on a young startup with an unproven business model is unusual for Mr. Icahn, an outspoken activist known for taking large stakes in publicly traded companies and challenging management to make changes,” the WSJ noted.
Icahn’s holdings include multibillion-dollar stakes in companies including Apple, CVR Energy and eBay.
For its part, Lyft said in the blog post that Icahn’s record as an investor is “unparalleled.”
“We’re thrilled to partner with Carl during this exciting period in Lyft’s growth as we work to rebuild the U.S. transportation infrastructure and reconnect local communities,” the company said.
Icahn noted that Lyft’s valuation of $2.5 billion was a fraction of that of larger rival Uber Technologies, most recently valued at more than $41 billion.
“If you look at the way the market evaluates Uber and then look at the valuation of Lyft — Lyft is a tremendous bargain,” he told the WSJ. “There is room for two.”
Other investors in Lyft include venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who has clashed with Icahn since Icahn acquired his stake in eBay, where Andreessen was a board member.