Uber alums have already created 1 unicorn and multiple exits. Sequoia Capital and Founders Fund are the top investors in the Uber Mafia. We used our founder scoring algorithm to identify 15 early-stage Uber Mafia companies you should be tracking.
Like PayPal, whose alumni spawned Tesla, LinkedIn, and YouTube, Uber has given rise to its own mafia — an alumni network that has founded over 240 startups, according to CB Insights data.
Some of the most recognizable companies include Bird Rides, CloudKitchens, and Forward, with founders and C-suite members like former Uber VP Travis VanderZanden, ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, and early Uber GM Ilya Abyzov, respectively.
Note: Travis Kalanick’s investment fund acquired CloudKitchens in 2018.
Highlights from the Uber Mafia include:
- Total companies: There are 242 companies founded by ex-Uber employees since 2011. These companies have raised a combined $4B in disclosed equity funding across 358 financings. 147 have received venture capital backing, with average total funding of $29M.
- Stage: The majority of the companies (63%) are early-stage (seed and Series A). This makes sense given the windfall that the Uber IPO in May 2019 provided, with many of the Uber Mafia starting new companies in just the last few years.
- Unicorns: One company founded by an Uber alum has attained unicorn status: Bird Rides (first joined the club at a $2B valuation).
- Exits: Seven companies have been acquired, while 2 companies have announced plans to go public via SPAC mergers: Bird Rides (at a $2.3B valuation) and BarkBox ($1.6B). Notable acquisitions include Modern Fertility (by Ro for $225M), rideOS (by Gopuff for $115M), and Ike (by Nuro).
- Top VC investor: Sequoia Capital and Founders Fund are tied as the most active VC investors, having each invested in 8 Uber alumni-founded companies. Sequoia has backed companies like Bird Rides, rideOS, and Tecton, and Founders Fund has backed Bungalow, Forward, and All Day Kitchens, among others. Andreessen Horowitz is close behind, with 7 Uber Mafia companies in its portfolio.
Uber alumni have spawned startups across a range of areas, from the transportation space (e.g., Bird Rides), where these alums cut their teeth, to healthcare (e.g., Pager), financial services (e.g., dYdX Trading), and more.
Below, we identify the top 15 early-stage companies from the Uber Mafia based on founding team strength using the CB Insights Management Mosaic algorithm.