Silicon Valley knew well the aggressive corporate culture key to Uber‘s global dominance — and all about that culture’s downsides.
Tech workers had seen it in lawsuits filed against the ride-hailing service, candidates turning down jobs at the San Francisco company and those fleeing the firm amid a drumbeat of scandals and critical news articles. So the 47 structural and policy recommendations handed down by attorneys to the ride-hailing company Tuesday weren’t revelatory.
But for venture capitalists, the stark assessment underscores a growing concern: As company founders have amassed historic amounts of funding in the last five years, they have also attained greater control and autonomy. That has allowed entrepreneurs including Uber co-founder and Chief Executive Travis Kalanick to pursue aggressive tactics and foster cultures that trouble workers and investors — with limited checks on their power — for longer than ever before in the tech industry, observers say.
“Are we as investors giving up too much of the store to entrepreneurs?” said Jonathan Tower, who recently founded investment firm Catapult VC after working at TriplePoint Capital. “Maybe during this boom period, we’ve become too founder-friendly.”
Had Uber been created in a different era of the tech industry, the 8-year-old firm probably would have been publicly traded by now — or at least nearing the day of an initial public offering. And many of the changes that former U.S. Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. and Tammy Albarrán put forward would have long been in place. Those would include substantial performance reviews for senior…Read More