Famed investor Chris Sacca and Uber CEO Travis Kalanick used to be close friends who would hot tub together at Sacca’s house.
Sacca’s firm, Lowercase Capital, invested $US300,000 in Uber’s angel round and Sacca helped the fledgling company buy the name “Uber” from Universal Music Group. Lowercase Capital currently owns 4% of the $US41 billion company. But now Sacca and Kalanick “barely speak.”
“What’s frustrating is I honestly don’t know what’s wrong,” Sacca told Forbes reporter Alex Konrad in an interesting new profile.
Although Kalanick declined to comment for the Forbes’ piece, sources told Konrad that Kalanick became upset when Sacca tried to buy more secondary Uber shares from initial investors. He had done the same thing before Twitter’s IPO, leading him to own more of the company than any other outside investor.
Here’s an explanation for the rift, via Forbes:
Through a spokesperson, Kalanick declined to comment, but conversations with those with knowledge of the pair and the startup’s early days indicate that the Uber CEO got upset with Sacca for trying to repeat his Twitter move of buying up secondary shares in Uber from other initial investors. “Travis was 110% about the company, and with Chris it became a ‘What about Chris?’ issue,” says one of these sources. Kalanick told Sacca to stop coming to board meetings, which Sacca monitored as an advisor. They barely speak today.
“What’s frustrating is I honestly don’t know what’s wrong,” Sacca says. “I’ve apologised multiple times.” When pushed, he concedes that his efforts to buy shares might have created a rift. Kalanick kept telling him it was impractical to do, Sacca says, yet Sacca kept coming up with workarounds. “I guess I wasn’t hearing what he was really saying, which was ‘Don’t f — king do it.’ ”
Apparently, though, Kalanick isn’t the only one who can hold a grudge.
“I get close to people easily,” Sacca told Konrad. “But do something to me, I will light that bridge on fire.”