Former Uber chief Travis Kalanick strikes back at Benchmark Capital
18 August 2017
Uber co-founder, former CEO and current board member Travis Kalanick strongly rebutted Benchmark Capital in legal documents filed yesterday, arguing that the venture capital firm's lawsuit was initiated ''as part of its public and personal attack'' on him, Tech Crunch reported.
The legal filing, first discovered by Axios, also posits that Benchmark's claims are subject to mandatory arbitration, and that the Delaware Chancery Court, where the complaint was filed, did not have the jurisdiction to settle them.
Benchmark, which is an early investor in Uber also holds a position on the company's board of directors. Benchmark took Kalanick to court earlier this month, charging him with fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty in his efforts to maintain control at the company he helped create (See: Uber investor brings fraud charges against Travis Kalanick).
Kalanick stepped down as CEO in June following a number of high-profile scandals at the ride-sharing startup.
According to Kalanick's legal team Benchmark's demands that he step down felt like an ''ambush'' following the death of his mother, and that ''[Benchmark] executed its plan at the most shameful of times: immediately after Kalanick experienced a horrible personal tragedy.''
Further, according to the document, Benchmark did not raise any of the claims it put forth in its lawsuit until its filing, challenging the firm's claim that the investors felt ''fraudulently induced'' to giving Kalanick control of three board seats.
Venture capital firm Benchmark Capital, claims it owns 13 per cent of Uber with 20 per cent of the voting power. Venture sued former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick last week to force him off the board, where he still has a seat, and divest him of his remaining power there, citing fraud and deception.
Kalanick, responding to the lawsuit in court filing, said Benchmark's legal action is part of a larger scheme to oust him from the company he helped found and take away his power. He further argued that the legal quarrel should take the arbitration route to resolution.