Ex-Uber Chief Acquires Real Estate Startup For $150M

Travis Kalanick Official Leweb Photoc CC BY 2.0 License

Travis Kalanick, former Chief Executive Officer of Uber, has announced that he now serves as CEO of City Storage Systems (CSS), a holding company that works to redevelop distressed real estate properties. Mr. Kalanick is joining the startup after his investment fund 10100 agreed to buy a controlling stake in CSS for $150 million. He set up 10100 after selling a portion of his stake at Uber to SoftBank, having earned approximately $1.4 billion by doing so. Last January, it was reported that Mr. Kalanick was preparing to sell 29-percent of his 10-percent stake in Uber and also offered as much as half of his share at the company to SoftBank.

On Twitter, Mr. Kalanick said CSS is focused on repurposing real estate assets in various areas, adding that this type of real estate business offers opportunities to rehabilitate assets amounting to $10 trillion for a wide range of digital services. The goal of the investment in CSS, according to Mr. Kalanick, is to create job opportunities and restore the productivity of distressed assets. Particularly, CSS provides two B2B services for real estate acquisition and development in the food and retail segments – CloudKitchens and CloudRetail. CSS currently has only 15 employees, though Mr. Kalanick says he is looking to fill a number of positions.

Mr. Kalanick’s new role at CSS follows a controversial stint as CEO of ride-hailing service provider Uber which was involved in a series of scandals during his tenure. Last June, after consulting with at least one Uber board member, Mr. Kalanick officially resigned from Uber, a company which he helped establish in 2009 to become a transportation giant and unofficially the world’s most valuable startup. Perhaps the biggest challenge Uber faced over the last year was an intellectual property lawsuit filed by Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous car development subsidiary. In February last year, Waymo sued Uber and accused it of stealing some of the company’s intellectual property including its self-driving technology, claiming that former Waymo employees that now work at Uber-owned Otto downloaded designs and other self-driving car secrets. The case was eventually settled for $245 million in equity.