Headlines 

Hack Brief: Uber Paid Off Hackers to Hide a 57-Million User Data Breach

By now, the name Uber has become practically synonymous with scandal. But this time the company has outdone itself, building a Jenga-style tower of scandals on top of scandals that has only now come crashing down. Not only did the ridesharing service lose control of 57 million people's private information, it also hid that massive breach for more than a year, a cover-up that potentially defied data breach disclosure laws. Uber may have even actively deceived Federal Trade Commission investigators who were already looking into the company for distinct, earlier…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber loses its license to operate in London

In a huge blow to Uber in the UK London’s transport regulator has rejected its application to renew its license to operate in the city. In a statement today TfL said it has concluded that Uber is “not fit and proper to hold a private hire operator licence”. “TfL’s regulation of London’s taxi and private hire trades is designed to ensure passenger safety.  Private hire operators must meet rigorous regulations, and demonstrate to TfL that they do so, in order to operate.  TfL must also be satisfied that an operator…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber investor Shervin Pishevar petitions Benchmark to step down from board and sell some of its stock

Shortly after a group of Uber shareholders asked Benchmark to relinquish its spot on Ubers board of directors, Sherpa Capitals Shervin Pishevar is petitioning Benchmark via Change.org to remove itself from Ubers board. The petition also asks Benchmark to sell at least 75 percent of its stock so that the firm no longer has rights to appoint members to Ubers board of directors. We have investors ready to acquire these shares as soonas we receive communication from Benchmark that they are willing to withdraw their lawsuitand sell a minimum of…

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 

Ubers Ryan Graves leaving SVP role to focus on board position

Uber SVP of Global Operations will be leaving that full-time senior leadership role in the middle of September to focus on his role as a director of Ubers board. Graves, who acted as Ubers CEO from early 2010 until founder Travis Kalanick took over the position at the end of that year, had been seen as a close associate of Kalanicks over the course of his long tenure at the ride-hailing company. An earlier report from Business Insider suggested that Graves had had a decreased role in Ubers operations since…

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 

Judge rules Anthony Levandowski can be called to testify in Uber/Waymo trial

In the latest hearing to define the scope of the upcoming trial between self-driving technology rivals Waymo and Uber, District Judge William Alsup said Anthony Levandowski, the star engineer at the center of the affair, could be called to testify in court. But he also ruled that Uber and Waymo would be limited in the questions they would be able to ask him, knowing that he will likely continue to plead the Fifth. Levandowski is a former Google engineer who left the company to found his own autonomous trucking company,…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Ubers SVP of leadership and strategy says she hasnt seen any toxicity

Uber SVP of Leadership and Strategy Frances Frei is optimistic about the future of Uber, despite the allegations of sexual harassment, greyballing and an executive accessing a riders medical records. In fact, Frei wears an Uber t-shirt every day and plans to wear one every day until every single one of Ubers 15,000 employees feels proud about wearing one,she said at a live taping of Recode Decode last night. Frei has been Ubers SVP of Leadership and Strategy since early June. In that short time, a lot has happened at…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber faces another lawsuit due to a lack of wheelchair-accessible rides

The Brooklyn Center for Independence for the Disabled, along with other disability rights groups, is suing Uber, alleging Uber is in violation of New York City human rights laws because it doesnt have enough wheelchair-accessible cars available to people who need them, Reuters reports. The class-action lawsuit, which also includes Disabled in Action of Metropolitan New York and the Taxis for All Campaign as plaintiffs, alleges Uber is engaging in pervasive and ongoing discrimination because there are only 200 or so of Ubers 58,000+ vehicles made available to people who…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber acqui-hires social app studio Swipe Labs

Why would Uber buy a team that builds Snapchat competitors? To make its driver app feel more human. Uber has acqui-hired Swipe Labs, the social product studio run by Marwan Roushdy. He and a selection of engineers from the dozen-person startup will join Uber to work on the driver experience within the driver earnings team. A source from the venture capital industry described the deal to TechCrunch as definitely acquihire. They were running out of cash, rather than being a lucrative acquisition. Over the past four years it had raised…

Read More
Odds and Ends 

Uber rival Grab is reportedly raising up to $2 billion from SoftBank and Didi

Grab, the Uber rival in Southeast Asia that operates across seven countries, is reportedly in talks to raise up to $2 billion from Japan-based SoftBank and China-based Didi Chuxing, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources.The funding would reportedly value Grab at more than $5 billion, which would make it the most valuable startup in Southeast Asia. SoftBank is the telecom giant that has become known for investing in any ride-hailing company other than Uber. SoftBank first invested in Grab in 2014, with a $250 million investment.That investment came just…

Read More