Uber CEO Change Just Before The New Year

December 22, 2010

6:28 pm

We have covered Uber (formerly Ubercab) a couple of times now since our first experience with the prototype at SXSW 2010 as Travis Kalanick and Ryan Graves both stayed at Tech Cocktail SXSW HQ for the week. The company offers a black car service at your fingertips via the Uber iPhone app. We interviewed acting CEO, Ryan Graves, here and he joined us at our Tech Cocktail San Francisco event in September. More recently, Uber received controversial cease and desist orders, sparked by local cabbies & limo companies saying it was impeding their business and Ryan joined us to explain.

Today, Uber made an announcement on its blog that they will be making a change as co-founder Travis Kalanick will come back to help run the business as the new acting CEO. Ryan will continue to drive the business too as the GM and VP. Kalanick explained the relationship:

“This is a partnership between Ryan and me, something we feel pretty strongly about and the reason we titled our post ’1 + 1 = 3′ as we believe the sum of what we respectively bring to the table is far greater than the parts.”

In recent travels, the Tech Cocktail team speculated how someone needs to introduce independent car-rentals a la the Airbnb model, so we thought this would be a great direction for Uber and it appears that TechCrunch agrees. On a recent trip, there was a scarcity of rental cars, leaving many travelers out of luck, yet we heard locals offering their own personal cars. A marketplace for this type of service could be quite successful.

Congrats to Travis on jumping back in as the CEO and to Ryan on continuing to drive their innovations forward. Also, we were excited to have Travis Kalanick speak about some of the things he has learned as an entrepreneur, angel investor and advisor over the past 15 years at our Tech Cocktail Startup Mixology Conference in October. Watch the video.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups. Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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