Odds and Ends 

Crunch Report | Benchmark Sues Travis Kalanick

Benchmark sues former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Facebook buys computer vision startup focused on adding objects to video Credits Written by: Tito Hamze, John MannesHosted by: Tito HamzeFilmed by:Tito hamzeEdited by: Tito Hamze Notes: I dont know what to wear on Crunch Report (Its a hard decision and I suck at dressing myself). If you are a startup andwant to me to wear something mail me an XL T-shirt and Ill wear it in an episode. Im not going to mention the company on the shirt in the episode but…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber shareholder group asks Benchmark to step down from board following Kalanick suit

In what is rapidly devolving into an all-out brawl on the board of the worlds highest-valued private company, a group of Uber shareholders have asked the venture capital firm Benchmark to step down from the board of directors. This move comes only a day after Benchmark took the aggressive step of filing suit against Ubers former CEO Travis Kalanick, arguing that the founder had violated his fiduciary duty to the company and had committed fraud by seeking to increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends. Their suit…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Weekly Roundup: Travis Kalanick sued by Benchmark, Snap and Blue Apron sink after Q2 earnings

From Ubers former CEO Travis Kalanick getting sued by his companys lynchpin investors at Benchmark to Googles struggles with a recently fired employee over a gender diversity screed that went viral, its been a wild week in tech. Meanwhile, Snap and Blue Apron both reported disappointing earnings something we discuss in this weeks episode of the Equity podcast. From the boardroom to the trading floor, here are the stories that took Silicon Valley by storm this week. This post exists primarily as the Weekly Roundup weekend newsletter. Sign up here…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

What was Benchmark thinking?

Yesterday, Benchmark, the powerful venture firm and a majorUbershareholder, filed a lawsuit against the companys recently ousted CEOTravis Kalanick in a remarkable move. The suit seeks to remove Kalanick from the board, while eliminating three additional board positions that it says Kalanick sought (and won) approval for last year, partly by withholding crucial information from the board. The central issue: When Kalanick resigned as CEO, he also resigned from his board seat, but he quickly re-appointed himself to one of those outstanding and fraudulently procured seats, says Benchmark. It now…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber discloses details of Travis Kalanicks deposition in Waymo lawsuit

Uber unsealed former CEO Travis Kalanicks deposition in the Uber versus Waymo self-driving car technology case over the weekend. Kalanick, who was deposed for more than six hours last month, spoke about when he learned that Anthony Levandowski, who formerly worked at Google, downloaded documents related self-driving technology. The deposition yet again confirms that Uber was focused on building its technology from the ground up. Uber never wanted any Google material, and took steps to prevent any such material from ever coming to Uber, an Uber spokesperson told TechCrunch. Waymos…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Theres a manifesto criticizing Googles diversity efforts circulating inside the company

A screed from a Googler against the companys diversity policies appears to be circulating internally at the company, according to Gizmodo, which has published the memo. Motherboard first reported on the existence of the document making the rounds, which Googlers condemned on Twitter. In it, the author of the manifesto appears to try to argue that the gender gap in technology is not a product of discrimination but rather inherent biological differences between men and women in general. I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Travis Kalanick reportedly sought to reassert control at Uber after ouster

Just under two months after resigning from Uber, former CEO Travis Kalanick has reportedlyasked some former colleagues if they would support him in a potential shareholder battle, according to a new report by The Information. Youll periodically find these kinds of proxy fights happening at public companies, but after his ouster, it appears that Kalanick still may want to try to gain back some control at Uber. The Information reports that Kalanick isnt currently pursuing a shareholder battle. This comes amid reports that Softbank is looking to invest in the…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Some Uber employees are reportedly petitioning for Travis Kalanick to stay

Theres a petition circulating among Uber employees asking the board of directors to let Travis Kalanick return to the company, Recode reports. The email going around talks about how Kalanick is critical to the companys future success. It ultimately asks employees to show their support for Kalanick and push for him to get reinstated in an operational role. Update 10:45am PT:The letter, which was signed by over 1,100 employees (Uber employs about 14,000 people), has since been sent to the board, Axios reports. As the folks whove actually worked alongside…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Ubers toxic culture risks its driverless future, too

So Ubers blowhard-in-chief Travis Kalanick is finally out, out as CEO after some of its most prominent investors put the squeeze on him to go (not just take a time out). Scandal after scandal has hammered the company in recent times, culminating in an external investigation into a corporate culture accused by a former female employee of being rife with sexism, aggression and inequality. Kalanicks aggressive style of management has been the Uber rule, not the exception and arguably, setting aside the current slew of internal scandals, the company has…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Woman raped by an Uber driver in India is now suing the company for privacy violations

A woman raped by her Uber driver in India is suing both the company and three current and former top executives after it was revealed Eric Alexander, the companyspresident of business in Asia Pacific, had accessed and was carrying around her medical records. The woman, a Texas resident identified as Jane Doe in the case, is suing for intrusion into private affairs, public disclosure of private facts and defamation and says in the suit the three executives, including Alexander, Travis Kalanick and Emil Michael believed her rape in 2014 was…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes leave of absence

Amidst a tough time for Uber, CEO Travis Kalanicks parents were in a tragic boating accident last month that took the life of his mother. Now to grieve and clear his head before enacting changes at Uber, Travis has told his team hell be taking a leave of absence of unspecified length. You can read the CEOs full letter to Uber below. Kalanick notes that During this interim period, the leadership team, my directs, will be running the company. I will be available as needed for the most strategic decisions,…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber delivers letter of sexual harassment probe recommendations

Former Attorney General Eric Holder and his law partner Tammy Albarran announced some highly anticipated recommendations based on an internal harassment probe to employees in an all-hands meeting this morning. The board agreed, after several hours on Sunday to adopt all 10 recommendations given by law firm Covington & Burling LLP, where Holder and Albarran are partners. You can read the 13-page letter with all recommendations here. But tl;dr, somekey recommendations include reallocating the responsibilities of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick and increasing the profile of Ubers head of diversity Bernard…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Emil Michael, Ubers SVP of business, has left the company

Uber has confirmed that Emil Michael, one the companys top executives, has left the company. Earlier today Michael sent an internal email to staff that he would be leaving the ride-hailing company, according to a report from Recode. Michael, who served as the companys senior vice president of business, has long been a controversial figure outside of the company (he was the executive who suggested that Uber could and should perform opposition research on journalists). His departure was reported to be one of the recommendations that was set before Ubers…

Read More