By Chibuike Oguh
(Reuters) - U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co Inc <KKR.N> said on Tuesday it led an investor group making a $43 million investment in Slice, an online delivery platform for local pizza shops across the country.
KKR's investment comes amid a surge in demand for online shopping and delivery services because of the stay-at-home orders and economic shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Pizzerias, restaurants and other retail shops have been closed to in-person visitors, and have relied on online orders to generate sales.
Slice will use the cash to enhance its online ordering, marketing, payments and other services, which serve more than 12,000 pizza shops across all 50 states, KKR said.
"Slice comes at it from a foundational perspective providing services to allow independent pizza stores to compete with the big four pizza corporations," said Jake Heller, co-head of KKR's Technology Growth team in North America.
Venture capital firm GGV Capital and other early investors in Slice also participated in the KKR-led funding round. Slice's valuation following the deal was not disclosed, but the latest investment brings the total amount the company has raised to $82 million, sources said.
KKR is making its investment in Slice largely through its Next Generation Technology Growth Fund II, which raised $2.2 billion from investors in January.
(Reporting by Chibuike Oguh; Editing by Dan Grebler)