For his next act, former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is quietly building a new kind of food-delivery service
- Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is making progress with his food-delivery and "dark kitchen" startup, according to reports.
- CloudKitchens, one of the units of Kalanick's company City Storage Systems, has hired dozens of people including former Uber employees.
- Employees are being asked to keep mum about it all, not even publicly acknowledging they work there.
Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber who was ousted from his company in 2017 after a series of scandals and some serious boardroom drama, seems to be making some serious progress with his new startup.
One business unit of Kalanick's new startup is working in the food delivery world. It's opened in some locations, and ramped up to several dozen employees - some of them former Uber employees, as the Financial Times reports.
And, to keep his plans under wraps, employees are reportedly being told that they cannot update their LinkedIn profiles with their new job at his company.
About a year ago, Kalanick announced that through his investment fund, 10100 (pronounced Ten One Hundred), he had acquired a real-estate startup called City Storage Systems, and installed himself as CEO. City Storage had an interesting mission: It redevelops distressed bits of real estate, like underused parking lots or dying retail locations, into physical sites that support online businesses.
City Storage was focusing on two niches in particular: the CloudKitchens unit, which builds kitchens for chefs who want to start food-delivery businesses, and CloudRetail, which builds facilities to support online retailers. CloudKitchens is also making software to help run these food-delivery-only restaurants, the FT reports.
It is CloudKitchens that appears to be off to good start, the FT reports. It offers kitchen space for restauranteurs who want to start up their own food delivery service, and is somewhat of a competitor to Uber's own UberEats. Deliveroo, the European food delivery service, also offers a similar shared-kitchen service known as "dark kitchens."
Among Kalanick's new employees is a former senior Uber manager from China, who had been an executive at bike sharing company Ofo, reports the South China Morning Post. CloudKitchens has opened kitchens in Los Angeles, is working on opening them in London, and has property in San Jose, presumably to open operations there.
The food delivery business has been booming. Postmates has filed for an IPO, and Uber Eats is expected to gross $10 billion in revenue, up from $3 billion in 2017, an important business for Uber as it marches towards an IPO of its own.
Kalanick is said to be focused on growing his food delivery fast as he did with Uber, so his entry in this market will be interesting to watch.
A spokesperson for 10100 declined comment.