More than half of the companies in the top 10 for delivery drivers are now owned by private equity firms, with many of the largest operators also investing heavily in the companies they deliver for.
Some of these firms have long-term contracts with the city, while others have long been involved in the delivery business.
In a recent survey, the top 20 companies in terms of direct-to-consumer delivery drivers, based on total direct-sales revenue and the number of deliveries delivered, ranged from a $1.7 billion investment from the private equity firm CVC Capital to a $5.2 billion investment by Lyft and an $8 billion investment in DHL.
In 2016, the Washington Post found that more than 80% of the firms that make up the top 50 delivery drivers in the nation were private equity.
These companies have invested at least $2 billion in delivery drivers and have more than 1,000 employees.
The Post also found that the top 5 private equity companies in 2017 were:DHL, which has invested more than $100 billion in transportation companies including Uber, Lyft and Instacart, according to its annual report to shareholders.
Lyft is a subsidiary of General Electric, which owns more than 75% of DHL and is currently investing in a new delivery driver startup.CVC Capital and Lyft have long operated in a relationship with the Metropolitan Washington Council on Economic Development (MWCD).
The city of Seattle is a member of the MWC, which in 2018 awarded CVC and Lyft contracts to deliver packages and drop off people.CVS Health has also long been a big player in delivering for the metro area, according the MWD.
Its deliveries have made up more than 90% of MWC’s total direct delivery business, and its CEO, Tom Lasseter, was a member and former chairman of the board of directors of MWD from 2005 to 2010.MCD has been working to build its own delivery network, with plans to roll out service in 2019.
The city has been investing heavily to establish its own fleet, which includes about a dozen private-owned delivery companies.
In 2018, the MWMD hired two of the top private equity investors in the country, Apollo Global Management and Carlyle Group, to work on the city’s delivery fleet, according a statement from the MWCD.
The private equity investment group also invested in Lyft and its competitor Instacap, which launched in 2017.
The MWMDA plans to launch its own network of private delivery drivers by 2019, the statement said.
The MWD has also invested heavily in other companies such as UPS and the UPS franchise of its own UPS Express service, and it plans to expand its service in the coming years.
Civic Express, a private-franchise delivery service that has been operating in the Washington area since 2017, has also been investing in delivery companies and has a fleet of approximately 1,600 vehicles.
The company has invested at $7.3 billion in private-vehicle delivery companies, according an SEC filing.
The largest private-sector investment in a delivery company was $7 billion by Apollo Global in 2016, according data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Other companies including Red Hat, Oracle, Google, Salesforce and PayPal have invested more in delivery firms, according The Wall Street Journal.
A similar trend is emerging in the transportation industry.
A 2017 report from the Brookings Institution found that delivery drivers have a much higher share of the drivership in the U.S. than any other category, at 57% of all U.K. deliveries and 40% in Germany, France and Brazil.
But there are some notable exceptions.
In New York City, where delivery drivers make up nearly 80% or more of all drivers, they account for less than 10% of deliveries.
In New York, Uber is now the most common service in Manhattan, with a delivery service of about 9,600 deliveries per day, according ToThePost.
A similar trend has been observed in Seattle, with Lyft serving about 7,000 deliveries per week and Instacoop, a delivery startup owned by Microsoft, serving about 5,500 deliveries per month.
While the number and type of companies in these top 10 delivery companies is varied, there are common themes among them.
The top 20 are dominated by large, publicly traded companies with strong financial and management expertise, with only a few smaller firms.
These include the top five private equity-backed companies in Seattle.