Four years ago, Bill Ford, heir to the Ford family business, stood onstage at TED and said, “When you factor in population growth, it’s clear that the mobility model that we have today simply will not work tomorrow.” Now he’s putting action behind his words.
The venture firm he funded, Fontinalis Partners, has invested in ride-hailing service Lyft’s Series E, alongside activist investor Carl Icahn, whose participation was announced last week.
Fontinalis Partners isn’t disclosing how much it invested in Lyft. A spokesperson from Lyft told Re/code, “The investment from Fontinalis is included in the $150 million we announced last week.” Since Icahn has said that he invested $100 million, that means the Fontinalis investment is $50 million or less.
At first glance, it’s an unusual partnership. If they’re successful in their expansion plans, ride-hailing companies like Lyft and Uber could hurt the car industry by replacing people’s need for vehicle ownership. Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has frequently said that’s his goal.
Bill Ford may be the executive chairman of Ford Industries, but he’s admitted that individual vehicle ownership may not be the future. At TED, he said that his great-grandfather, Henry Ford, stood for the idea of mobility, not cars.
As such, his venture firm’s declared strategy is to invest in “the next-generation mobility ecosystem.” Its portfolio includes other startups in the transportation space, like RelayRides, which does peer-to-peer rental cars, and Zendrive, which allows ride-hailing companies to track whether their drivers are speeding or texting while driving.
This article originally appeared on Recode.net.