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Rediff.com  » Business » Uber founder keen to fund innovative start-ups in India, China

Uber founder keen to fund innovative start-ups in India, China

March 09, 2018 15:29 IST

Kalanick said the fund would focus on large-scale job creation through investments in real estate, e-commerce and upcoming innovations from India and China.

Travis Kalanick, founder and former chief executive officer (CEO) of Uber, is looking to back innovative technology-start-ups in India and China through his newly launched fund 10100, pronounced as ‘ten-one-hundred’.

 

Kalanick said the fund would focus on large-scale job creation through investments in real estate, e-commerce and upcoming innovations from India and China.

He will also route his philanthropic efforts through the fund besides the for-profit investments.

“The overarching theme will be about large-scale job creation, with investments in real estate, e-commerce and emerging innovation in China and India.

"Our non-profit efforts will initially focus on education and the future of cities,” the statement, which Kalanick tweeted, said.

The announcement comes around two months after SoftBank began the process of lapping up Uber shares in the secondary market at a $48 billion valuation.

Kalanick is said to have offered to sell nearly half of his shareholding in Uber. He ended up selling 39 per cent of it for $1.4 billion.

While he was the CEO of Uber, Kalanick was extremely bullish on India.

He had said the company had a real chance of replacing car ownership with ride hailing in India.

It was on his watch that Uber got into a multi-million dollar war, over customers and drivers, with its rival Ola.

Kalanick’s decision to focus on backing innovation in India comes at a time when a dark cloud has been cast over Uber’s future in the country.

While Uber’s current CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said the company continued to be committed to India, a merger with Ola brokered by SoftBank is rumoured to be on the cards.

Experts say that a deal to sell Uber’s India unit to Ola looks all the more imminent after the company has apparently agreed to sell its Southeast-Asia business to rival Grab.

In return, it will receive a 20 per cent stake in the combined entity.

The US company has already sold its China business to rival Didi and Russian business to rival Yandex Cabs.

The revelation that Kalanick had turned a blind eye to former Uber Asia-Pacific president Eric Alexander obtaining medical records of a 26-year-old woman, who had been raped by an Uber driver in Delhi sent shockwaves through the company and its board.

Global media reported that Alexander had discussed the theory that the rape was a setup by rival Ola with Kalanick and Emil Michael, who was the chief business officer at Uber, then.

The news prompted the board to send a letter to terminate the employment of Michael and asked Kalanick to take a three-month leave of absence from which he did not return.

Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Alnoor Peermohamed in Bengaluru
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