Category: Travis Kalanick

June 7, 2019 Off

Uber’s COO and chief marketing officer are out

By Jill T Frey

Uber’s chief operating officer Barney Harford and chief marketing officer Rebecca Messina are stepping down as part of an organizational shakeup put into motion just a month after the ride-hailing company went public.

CNBC first reported the departures.

The departures, which CEO Dara Khosrowshahi explained in an email to employees, were prompted by his decision to more directly control core parts of the business. Khosrowshahi told employees that he wants to be even more involved in the day-to-day operations of its biggest businesses, the core platform of Rides and Eats, and has decided they should report directly to him.

Harford left after agreeing that the chief operating officer role “no longer makes sense,” according to the email reviewed by TechCrunch.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that at every critical milestone, it’s important to step back and think about how best to organize for the future. Given that we’re a month … Read the rest

May 30, 2019 Off

Susan Fowler’s memoir has a title and a release date

By Jill T Frey

Susan Fowler’s forthcoming memoir, titled “Whistleblower,” is scheduled to hit bookshelves March 3, 2020. The book will be available for pre-order beginning June 12.

In late 2017, Penguin Random House imprint Viking Books acquired the rights to the memoir, which chronicles the harassment and discrimination Fowler faced during her tenure as a site reliability engineer at Uber.

Her memoir “will expose the systemic flaws rampant in the startup culture,” with “previously unreported details of what happened after she went public with the harassment and discrimination she faced [at Uber],” according to Viking. Additionally, it will touch on themes such as women’s role in the American economy, navigating challenging work environments, with an “eye-popping depiction and broad indictment of a work culture where a woman can do absolutely everything right and still encounter tremendous obstacles.”

Twenty-eight-year-old Fowler is best known for her infamous blog post, “Reflecting On One Very, Very Strange Read the rest

May 24, 2019 Off

Uber’s first employee Ryan Graves resigns from board

By Jill T Frey

Ryan Graves, a longtime Uber employee and former chief executive officer, has resigned from the company’s board of directors, effective Monday.

The newly-public company announced the departure on Friday afternoon. Ron Sugar, the company’s independent chairperson of the board, wrote in the filing that Graves was key in shaping what Uber is today. 

“As a thoughtful and engaged director, Ryan has continued to add value to Uber, offering insights and judgments that have helped us navigate the ups and downs of the business as we have grown over the past decade,” Sugar wrote. “While this is a bittersweet moment, we accept his personal decision that this is the right time for him to step down. Dara and I are grateful for his contributions to Uber’s success and wish him all the best going forward.”

Graves, who currently leads the investment firm Saltwater Capital, joined Uber in 2010 after co-founder and … Read the rest

May 11, 2019 Off

EC-exclusive interview with Tim Cook, Slacklash, and tech inclusion

By Jill T Frey

An EC-exclusive interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook

TechCrunch editor-in-chief Matthew Panzarino traveled to Florida this week to talk with Tim Cook about Apple’s developer education initiatives and also meet with high school developer Liam Rosenfeld of Lyman High School. Apple wants to attract the next set of app developers like Liam into the Xcode world, and the company is building a more ambitious strategy to do so going forward:

But that conversation with Liam does bring up some questions, and I ask Cook whether the thinks that there are more viable pathways to coding, especially for people with non-standard education or backgrounds.

“I don’t think a four year degree is necessary to be proficient at coding,” says Cook. “I think that’s an old, traditional view. What we found out is that if we can get coding in in the early grades and have a progression of difficulty over the

Read the rest
May 10, 2019 Off

Uber’s trading debut: who was (and wasn’t) at the opening bell

By Jill T Frey

Uber finally made its debut Friday on the New York Stock Exchange, ending its decade-long journey from startup to publicly traded company.

So far, it’s been a ho-hum beginning, with shares opening at $42, down from the IPO price. The share price is hovering just under $44.

Thirteen people, including executives, early employees, drivers and customers, were on the balcony for the historic bell ringing that opened the markets Friday. Noticeable absentees were co-founder Garrett Camp and former CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from the company in June 2017 after a string of scandals around Uber’s business practices.

Kalanick, who still sits on the board and has an 8.6% stake in Uber, wasn’t part of the opening bell ceremony. However, Kalanick and Camp were both at the NYSE for the event.

Here is who participated in the opening bell ceremony.

The bell ringer

Austin Geidt, who … Read the rest

May 10, 2019 Off

Singapore’s Grain, a profitable food delivery startup, pulls in $10M for expansion

By Jill T Frey

Cloud kitchens are the big thing in food delivery, with ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick’s new business one contender in that space, with Asia, and particularly Southeast Asia, a major focus. Despite the newcomers, a more established startup from Singapore has raised a large bowl of cash to go after regional expansion.

Founded in 2014, Grain specializes in clean food while it takes a different approach to Kalanick’s CloudKitchens or food delivery services like Deliveroo, FoodPanda or GrabFood.

It adopted a cloud kitchen model — utilizing unwanted real estate as kitchens, with delivery services for output — but used it for its own operations. So while CloudKitchens and others rent their space to F&B companies as a cheaper way to make food for their on-demand delivery customers, Grain works with its own chefs, menu and delivery team. A so-called “full stack” model, if you can stand the cliched tech phrase.

Finally, … Read the rest

May 4, 2019 Off

Startups Weekly: Will the Seattle tech scene ever reach its full potential?

By Jill T Frey

Greetings from Seattle, the land of Amazon, Microsoft, two of the world’s richest men and some startups.

I’m always surprised the Seattle startup ecosystem hasn’t grown to compete with the likes of Silicon Valley — or at least Boston and New York City — since the dot-com boom. Today, it’s the strongest it’s has been due to the successes of companies like the newly minted unicorn Outreach, trucking business Convoy and, of course, the dog walking startup Rover. But the city still lags behind, failing to adopt the culture of entrepreneurship that defines San Francisco.

I spent a lot of time wondering why it hasn’t reached its full potential. Is it because Microsoft and Amazon pay their employees so well they don’t have the same urge to build something from the ground up? Is it a lack of access to capital? Is the city not attracting top talent? If you … Read the rest

May 3, 2019 Off

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick may not be invited to ring opening bell

By Jill T Frey

Despite Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick wanting to be part of the company going public, the company’s board is considering not letting Kalanick be there to ring the opening bell on May 10, Uber’s first day of trading, Axios reports. Kalanick also wants to bring his dad, The New York Times reports.

Additionally, Kalanick’s fellow co-founders Ryan Graves and Garrett Camp may not be allowed on the balcony to ring the bell.

Uber would not be where it is today without Kalanick, but him being there would surely be a reminder of Uber’s rocky past. Still, Benchmark partner Matt Cohler wants Kalanick and his co-founders to be there, according to Axios. Instead of joining Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi and other Uber executives on the balcony, Kalanick will only be able to be on the New York Stock Exchange floor with the company’s other board members.

Kalanick resigned from Uber Read the rest