Travis Kalanick buys $43.3M mansion – as 3,500 Uber staff are laid off

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick buys a $43.3 million Bel Air mansion – while 3,500 staff from ride hailing firm are laid off

  • Travis Kalanick bought the Bellagio estate, near the elite East Gate Bel Air neighborhood in LA for $43.3 million in April
  • The sprawling mansion boasts a 7,000-bottle wine cellar, two swimming pools and is set in two acres of landscaped gardens 
  • This comes as 3,500 Uber workers learned they had lost their jobs in a three-minute Zoom call last week 
  • The disgraced former CEO was ousted in 2017 and then left the board of directors in December 2019 
  • Kalanick offloaded his entire stake at end of 2019, netting more than $2.7 billion
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has bought a sprawling mansion in Bel Air, Los Angeles, for a staggering $43.3 million pricetag, while 3,500 staff from the ride hailing firm were laid off over a Zoom conference call.

The disgraced former CEO last month became the proud new owner of the gargantuan Bellagio estate, near the elite East Gate Bel Air neighborhood, complete with an impressive 7,000-bottle wine cellar and two swimming pools. 

The extravagant sale comes as Uber became one of the latest business casualties of the coronavirus pandemic last week, when thousands of workers learned they had lost their jobs via a three-minute Zoom call.

Kalanick was ousted as CEO from the firm in 2017 and then left the board of directors in December 2019 – at the same time that he offloaded his entire stake in Uber, netting more than $2.7 billion in the process.  

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick has just bought this house in Bel Air, Los Angeles, for a staggering $43.3 million pricetag, while 3,500 staff were laid off over a Zoom conference call 

The sprawling mansion is complete with a 7,000-bottle wine cellar made from 18th-century limestone (above)

The disgraced former CEO of the ride hailing app last month became the proud new owner of the gargantuan Bellagio estate, which has a full-size tennis court (above)

And it seems the controversial Uber founder, who now heads up ghost kitchen concept CloudKitchens, has used the money to snap up some real estate, after he completed the sale for the Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion in April, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

Records show the signatory on the deed was CloudKitchens founder Diego Berdakin, leading to initial reports that Berdakin was the buyer but the Journal has learned Kalanick is the new homeowner.   

It was sold by a limited liability company tied to real-estate investor Christopher Cole – which bought the property for $38 million in 2015. 

Before this, the estate was also home to late NFL team owner Georgia Frontiere between the 1970s and 2005. 

Kalanick (above) was ousted as CEO from the firm in 2017 and then left the board of directors in December 2019 – at the same time as he offloaded his entire stake in Uber, netting more than $2.7 billion in the process

The minimalist interiors. The property is located near the elite East Gate Bel Air neighborhood

The mansion was sold by a limited liability company tied to real-estate investor Christopher Cole – which bought the property for $38 million in 2015

The property offers floor to ceiling windows with views of its two-acre land. The controversial Uber founder, who now heads up ghost kitchen concept CloudKitchens, completed the sale for the Spanish Colonial Revival-style mansion back in April, according to the Wall Street Journal 

The grand estate was designed by architect Paul Williams and boasts a home of about 20,000 square feet set within almost two acres of land.

The new homeowner can enjoy the newly renovated interiors, after a three-year project updated the home giving it an opulent minimalism theme before it was put on the market last year.

It boasts living space across multiple wings, seven bedrooms, and two separate gated and camera-secured entrances. 

The baronial master bedroom alone dwarfs the size of an average American home at  2,500 square feet, including its own sitting area, dual spa-style bathtubs and dual showroom closets.

An aerial view of the grand estate which was designed by architect Paul Williams and boasts a home of about 20,000 square feet set within almost two acres of land

The large living room. It boasts living space across multiple wings, seven bedrooms, and two separate gated and camera-secured entrances 

The new homeowner can enjoy the newly renovated interiors, after a three-year project updated the home giving it an opulent minimalism theme before putting it on the market last year

There’s also a library, a private office with sensational floor-to-ceiling windows for the businessman’s next venture, and a club-style lounge room with a wet bar and fireplace. 

And there’s plenty of space for entertaining the equally wealthy neighbors in the grounds, with its two swimming pools, the wine cellar finished in 18th-century limestone, a large courtyard with alfresco dining area, full-size tennis court and beautifully landscaped gardens with olive trees. 

Kalanick seems to have done well out of the challenging real estate market amid the pandemic, managing to get the property at a steal at more than $30 million below its original $75 million asking price. 

The same cannot be said for Uber workers during this time as DailyMail.com revealed last week that 3,500 Uber employees who worked in customer service and recruitment around the US learned it would be their last day working for the firm on a live call. 

Records show the signatory on the deed was CloudKitchens founder Diego Berdakin, leading to initial reports that Berdakin was the buyer but the Journal has learned Kalanick is the new homeowner 

Kalanick seems to have done well out of the challenging real estate market amid the pandemic, managing to get the property at a steal at more than $30 million below its original $75 million asking price

Uber’s Ruffin Chaveleau was tasked with breaking the news that the app was ‘eliminating’ thousands of jobs on the call, obtained by DailyMail.com. 

Chaveleau heads Uber’s Phoenix Center of Excellence – the term the company uses to describe its customer service office.

Chevaleau told staff: ‘Our rides business is down by more than half. There is not enough work for many frontline customer support employees. [As a result] we are eliminating 3,500 frontline customer support roles.

The estate was previously home to late NFL team owner Georgia Frontiere between the 1970s and 2005

There’s plenty of space for entertaining the equally wealthy neighbors in the grounds with one of the property’s two pools pictured above

It offers a large courtyard with alfresco dining area, full-size tennis court and beautifully landscaped gardens with olive trees

‘Your role is impacted and today will be your last working day with Uber. You will remain on payroll until the date noted in your severance package.’

Chaveleau’s voice cracked as she told the employees that ‘no one wants to be on a call like this’.

She said: ‘I know that this is incredibly hard to hear. No one wants to be on a call like this. With everyone remote and a change of this magnitude, we had to do this in a way that allowed us to tell you as quickly as possible so that you did not hear it from the rumor mill.

Uber’s Ruffin Chaveleau (above) was tasked with breaking the news via Zoom to the 3,500 staff last week that they were being laid off with immediate effect

‘I also wanted to deliver this news personally and just take a brief moment to thank you for your contributions to Uber.’

This came after Chaveleau was tasked back in February with informing 80 staff they were losing their jobs when Uber shut down its Los Angeles customer support office.

The business has been devastated by the pandemic and a company filing on Wednesday revealed around 3,700 roles will be cut from its global workforce – roughly 14% of its 26,900 employees. 

The cuts will be made among customer support and recruiting teams, meaning  driver number will be largely unaffected.

The company expects to incur about $20 million in costs for severance and related charges, the filing revealed.  

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will not be paid for the rest of the year. His salary was set for $1million in 2019 with a possible bonus of $2million.

A memo sent to staff on Wednesday saw Khosrowshahi hint that more cuts may be on the way. 

CEO Dara Khosrowshahi (above) will not be paid for the rest of the year as Uber has been decimated by the COVID-19 lockdown with far fewer people booking rides as they stay home

He said: ‘We are looking at many scenarios and at each and every cost, both variable and fixed, across the company. We want to be smart, to move fast, to retain as many of our great people as we can, and treat everyone with dignity, support and respect.

‘And with our hiring freeze, ‘ Khosrowshahi added, ‘there simply isn’t enough work for recruiters.’ 

Uber has been decimated by the COVID-19 lockdown with far fewer people booking rides as they stay home. 

Kalanick was forced to resign as CEO from the firm in 2017 as the company faced mounting scandals including allegations of sexism, racism and homophobia.

Executives were even telling Kalanick that he was personally poisoning the company’s brand.

A video had surfaced showing him yelling at one of his own drivers just before he stepped down, and a survey taken showed that while people liked using the app-based Uber’s ride-sharing services, they were effectively turned off by Kalanick.

He remained on the company board until the end of 2019 – at which time he went on a selling spree, offloading his more than $2.7 billion worth of shares in the company as he walked away for good.

Who is Travis Kalanick? The highly competitive math wiz who helped turn Uber into the world’s largest ride-services company

Travis Kalanick helped found Uber in 2009. He stepped down from the company’s helm in June 2017 under pressure from investors after a string of setbacks.

He came from a middle class family in Northridge, California where his father was a civil engineer – inheriting his head for numbers and strong analytical skills.

From his mother, who worked as an advertising executive at the Los Angeles Daily News, Kalanick learned the charisma that won over her clients and he became a natural salesman.

By the time he was in middle school, he was highly competitive, learned to code, but suffered ‘relentless’ bullying because he was a math wiz.

He scored a 1580 in his SATs, 20 points shy of perfect, and went to UCLA to double major in computer science and economics.

Kalanick became obsessed with the Internet and built a Napster-like search engine to find music online called Scour, dropping out to work full time on the project. 

He managed to get $4million from venture capitalists but under grossly unfair terms – he would never forget that either – and Scour ultimately went bankrupt in 2000 when the recording industry sued it for $250million.

A year later Kalanick tried to launch another version called Red Swoosh which he sold in 2007 for $20million, earning him $2million.

He then dabbled as an angel investor until he met fellow budding tech entrepreneur Garrett Camp, who had sold his now-defunct social network StumbledUpon to eBay for $75million in 2007. 

Kalanick idolized tech pioneers like Jeff Bezos and ripped off the Amazon founder’s 14 principles, only with a distinctly Uber-like twist.

Number 1 on Bezos’s list was ‘customer obsession’ while Kalanick’s was ‘always be hustlin’.

At Number 8 on Bezos’ list was ‘dive deep’. In the same position on Uber’s version was ‘Super Pumped’.

By 2012 Uber was in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Paris, with London soon to follow.

Kalanick had few friends outside of work and drove himself hard with 18-hour days and employees were expected to do the same. 

But his pugnacious style turned Uber into the world’s largest ride-services company that revolutionized the taxi industry and challenged transportation regulations worldwide.  

‘Very few entrepreneurs have built something as profound as Travis Kalanick did with Uber. I’m enormously grateful for Travis’ vision and tenacity while building Uber, and for his expertise as a board member,’ Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said in a statement.

But his brashness was also blamed for a string of scandals and complaints over his leadership, resulting in a shareholder revolt to push him out. 

Other Uber executives buying shares in the company include current Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, pictured left on the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company’s IPO in May 

When Kalanick resigned in the summer of 2017, the company had been through a bruising six months during which employees accused the former CEO of fostering a toxic work culture that encouraged sexual harassment and bullying.

At the time, Uber was also the target of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice over trade secret theft in connection to its self-driving unit.  

‘Uber has been a part of my life for the past 10 years. At the close of the decade, and with the company now public, it seems like the right moment for me to focus on my current business and philanthropic pursuits,’ Mr Kalanick said in a prepared statement on Tuesday.

‘I’m proud of all that Uber has achieved, and I will continue to cheer for its future from the sidelines.’

 

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