Ride-hailing company Lyft, Uber's biggest competitor in the United States, has a new investor: Carl Icahn.
The gadfly investor has taken a $100 million stake in Lyft, the company said Friday.
Icahn's investment is part of a $150 million extension of a $530 million round of funding Lyft announced in March that values the three-year old company at $2.5 billion.
As part of the investment, Managing Director of Icahn Enterprises Jonathan Christodoro will join Lyft's board of directors.
In a statement, Icahn said he's convinced "ridesharing is poised to become a fundamental component of our transportation infrastructure."
It also puts Icahn in close quarters with Lyft's existing investors — most notably, Andreessen Horowitz co-founder, Marc Andreessen, with whom he's often sparred publicly. Last October, in the midst of a heated battle over eBay board seats, Icahn slammed Andreessen, saying, "He's screwed more people than Casanova, for Christ's sakes." Andreessen subsequently resigned from eBay's board of directors.
For the moment, Andreessen is viewing Icahn's investment with mild amusement. "Rumors that Lyft is spinning off ride-sharing business from mustache-licensing business are completely untrue," he told Fortune's Dan Primack.
Over the past few years, Lyft has worked hard to differentiate itself from Uber by promoting an image of a friendlier and more experience-focused service. And in a presentation to woo investors ahead of its last round of funding, company executives honed in on precisely what set Lyft and Uber apart, decrying Uber for its "top-down approach," "exclusive mentality," and "anti-social culture," while emphasizing Lyft's "trusted brand" and its "social experience," according to a Bloomberg report.
But according to that same report, the competition between America's ride-hail giants is taking a toll on Lyft. It showed that Lyft was spending $530 to market to each driver and 22 passengers just in San Francisco, and that revenue growth was slowing from $12 million in one month in 2013 to $10.8 million in December of 2014.
In a statement, Lyft co-founder and President John Zimmer said the new funding will be used to scale the company's business in the U.S.
"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," Zimmer said. "With this additional investment, we remain focused on deepening our U.S. footprint, continuing to lead with product innovation and providing the best possible experience for drivers and passengers."
Johana Bhuiyan is a tech reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Bhuiyan reports on the sharing economy with a focus on ridesharing companies.
Contact Johana Bhuiyan at email@example.com.
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