Alphabet’s self-driving car unit settled its trade secrets dispute with the ride-hailing firm, Uber. As Fred Katayama reports, Uber promised not to use Waymo’s technology in its autonomous vehicles.
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SAN FRANCISCO — Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is back in business.
The ride-hailing company co-founder, who was ousted by investors last year following a series of corporate scandals, said in a tweet Wednesday that he was launching a venture fund that would invest in both the non- and for-profit sectors.
“Today I’m announcing the creation of a fund called 10100 (pronounced ‘ten-one-hundred’), home to my passions, ideas, investments and big bets,” Kalanick wrote.
Kalanick would appear to have plenty of money to invest. Earlier this year, he sold 29% of his Uber shares for a gain of $1.4 billion, according to Bloomberg.
The news comes a week after TechCrunch confirmed that Kalanick had joined the board of Kareo, a healthcare tech startup focused on patient communications, payment and marketing.
The board seat and the launch of 10100 suggests that roughly one year after Susan Fowler’s decimating blog post detailing Uber’s frat-like culture and a stream of brand-damaging reports on his leadership, some in the tech community are willing to give him a chance to restart his career. He oversaw Uber at a time of both huge growth and questionable business moves that found the company spying on rivals and regulators alike.
Kalanick was a voluble and even aggressive presence on the tech scene for many years, but fell from grace after Uber was blasted last year for everything from harboring a toxic environment for female employees to business tactics that skirted the law.
He largely disappeared from view after investors pushed for his dismissal last June, not long after a freak boating accident killed his mother and injured his father. He resurfaced for the first time last month, when he was a witness in the contentious trade secrets battle between Uber and Waymo.
The suit settled after a week, with Waymo granted $245 million in Uber stock, and without Uber accepting any guilt.
Real estate, e-commerce and China
The focus of 10100 seems broad. Kalanick expressed interest in investment opportunities in “large-scale job creation,” specifically through bets on real estate and e-commerce. He also singled out emerging opportunities in China and India as ripe for consideration.
On the non-profit side, Kalanick said he would be focusing on “education and the future of cities.”
The latter remains a focal point for Uber, the company he started with a few roommates in 2009. Ride-hailing has become very popular globally, but its ramifications are still being studied.
Recent studies have suggested that the cheap cost of hailing rides from Uber and rival Lyft have actually added to urban congestion as citizens opt out of walking or taking public transportation.
Both Uber and Lyft also have been pushing hard into the healthcare space, forging partnerships with doctors and hospitals who are looking for less expensive and more efficient ways to ensure all patients make their appointments.
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