Uber CEO resigns. Continental joins self-driving alliance. Bosch's $1.1B AV investment.
Uber‘s largely self-inflicted wounds have finally come to a head, with the once-unthinkable departure of cofounder and CEO Travis Kalanick now a reality amid a shareholder revolt. Adding to the turmoil, Bill Gurley of Benchmark became the second Uber board member to step down in just a week.
Obviously, discussions for some of these deals would have begun well before Uber’s most recent developments, but there’s no doubt that smaller rivals and their investors are moving opportunistically amid the giant’s struggles. Lyft, which had tried to sell itself last year (ironically to Uber, among others) without success, is seeing its stock rise sharply.
As with many aspects of the company, this picture is a marked contrast from the Uber of two years ago, whose war chest was unmatched by the collective funding secured by all of its competitors (to say nothing of any single rival).
With more companies like Grab on the fundraising path, Uber’s executive vacancies will only strengthen competitors’ pitches. Speculation around a successor is already swirling, but any decision may be complicated by Kalanick’s specter (i.e. board seat, undiminished voting power, and continued support from within).
Immediate implications aside, the story of Kalanick’s ouster is well worth a read, and Silicon Valley faces a long reflection over founder-worship culture and VCs’ role in this whole debacle.
The Amazonization of everything
Amazon’s planned Whole Foods acquisition has obviously sent grocery chains into a panic, but the deal would also arm Amazon with valuable real estate for logistics and fulfillment experimentation.
The direct challenges to traditional OEMs and transportation providers continue to grow as Bezos’ everything store expands its forays into transport and logistics. (In case you missed it last week, Amazon is also coming in from the retail side with its ambitions to sell cars in Europe.)