Early Backer Wants Uber To Merge With Tesla Motors

August 21, 2017 - Written By Daniel Golightly

One of Uber’s earliest backers, Jason Calacanis, now thinks that the ride-sharing company needs to join forces with Tesla Motors in order to save itself from its ongoing scandals. According to Calacanis, merging the two companies would offer several benefits, not least of all the implications of having Elon Musk at the helm. Uber’s previous CEO, Travis Kalanick should then take a place on the board of directors, since “banishing” the founder of the company was a mistake, according to Calacanis. The statements were made via the “This Week In Startups” web broadcast, which is run by Calacanis and is embedded below.

Calacanis views the two company’s as being “on a collision course,” one way or another – which is probably due to both companies operating within the autonomous vehicle industry. He suggests that a merger could be one way to quickly solve the problems facing Uber, as it continues to operate as an effectively leaderless company during its ongoing legal dispute with Waymo – which is a case involving the alleged theft of self-driving vehicle technology. That case likely plays a big role in the development of Calacanis’ viewpoint because Tesla would be able to provide technologies of its own to Uber’s projects, replacing the technologies that Alphabet’s Waymo has claimed were stolen. The idea does make some sense, since Tesla has been developing its self-driving tech for several years. Beyond that, the deal would also benefit Tesla Motors. For one thing, Tesla would be able to put its own cars front and center, driving a growth in visibility – and likely in sales – to match the output capability expected from the Gigafactory the company is working to build in Nevada. Whether a merger happens or not, Calacanis also sees several other ways the company could help itself out, like Uber engaging its drivers through incentives such as allowing drivers to gain shares in the company.

With that said, a merger between the two companies is not necessarily likely. Both companies have posted losses to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars across several quarters, which means such a deal wouldn’t likely be viewed favorably by the market. Moreover, Tesla’s CEO, Elon Musk, was not listed at all in recent reports regarding likely candidates to take over as chief executive at Uber. The company is rumored to be in the process of making a decision regarding who will fill that spot and a decision is expected by September.