Kalanick is back in biz: Ex-Uber CEO finds a new gig in City Storage Systems
Well, that was quick… Not long after getting ousted from his post as CEO of Uber, polarizing corporate bad boy Travis Kalanick has a new job as the CEO of real estate flipping startup City Storage Systems.
Kalanick announced he has invested $150m in City Storage through his brand new personal investment fund — an amount that will allow him to buy out most other outside investors as he takes the throne as CEO.
Digital boy in a digital world
City Storage buys floundering real estate assets (like parking lots and strip malls) and turns them into spaces for business of the “digital era,” (like ecommerce companies).
It’s the first big investment through Kalanick’s personal investment fund 10100 (pronounced ten-one-hundred, FYI), which he announced just a few weeks ago.
According to the T-Man, the firm will focus on his “passions, investments, ideas, and big bets,” with the theme of the fund centered around “large-scale job creation.”
Staying close to the family
Another large area of focus for City Storage will be food delivery (an industry near and dear to Kalanick’s heart).
One of the company’s pre-existing assets is CloudKitchens -- a company that provides infrastructure to food-delivery startups, and that just so happens to be a partner of UberEats; using its vehicle fleet to deliver meals from restaurants. It aaall comes full circle...
Since T-Bone stepped down from Uber last year, he’s maintained a large amount of influence in the ride-hailing giant’s day-to-day. Even as the company continues to weather the onslaught of controversies he created.
And with this new investment, he appears to be keeping his friends close, and his frenemies closer.
One more time, with feeling
Cloud wars are getting real: Salesforce buys MuleSoft at a $6.5B valuation
On Tuesday, Salesforce agreed to buy publicly traded cloud software company MuleSoft at $44.89 per share — a whopping $6.5B valuation in total.
That’s 16 times MuleSoft’s expected revenue in 2018, a price tag analysts are calling “lofty“ (‘Software as a service’ companies are typically valued at 10x their annual recurring revenue).
What the frig is MuleSoft?
MuleSoft sells software that helps companies share data across different systems, including those existing in “on-premises” data centers.
The company is a great pairing for Salesforce, which will need access to data across the company to build out their AI and machine learning layer Einstein.
This is the most expensive cloud software deal in history, and it could set the precedent for cloud software acquisitions moving forward.
Some analysts speculate the exorbitant price is the result of a bidding war among Salesforce, Google, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP — and if that’s the case, the competition’s only gonna get fiercer from here.
Expensive for the cloud giants looking to gobble up complementary software, and great for the cloud companies on the menu.
NASA gives a 3D rocket-printing startup a test facility... for free
Relativity Space, a 17-person startup that makes rockets with 3D printers, will take over NASA’s 20-year lease of the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi... at no cost.
According to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch forecast published last year, the space industry could hit $2.7T in the next three decades -- and Relativity hopes to fill a growing demand for rockets that can be quickly produced at a lower price point.
Private space partnerships have taken off
Since the end of the space race, NASA -- which receives only 0.5% of the federal budgetary pie today compared to 4.5% in 1966 -- has had to knock on the private sector’s door to borrow some rocket fuel.
At first, only mega-contractors like Boeing or SpaceX had pockets deep enough to perform the expensive testing required to win big NASA contracts.
But as NASA continued to dole out multibillion-dollar contracts to private companies after dismantling their space shuttle program in 2011, investors began to smell an opportunity.
Shoot for the moon, land among the VCs
When the White House recently announced a plan to send astronauts back to the moon with no expansion of NASA’s budget for R&D, private investors were more than happy to fill the void: They pumped $3.9B into private space companies last year alone.
Although they know the skies will be crowded with competitors, the founders of Relativity, who defected from SpaceX and Blue Origin, are confident that their rocket -- which is built in 60 days for $10m and carries more than a ton of cargo -- won’t fail to launch.
Boats n’ woes: Cyberpirates are targeting the world’s biggest shipping boats
The concept of shipping -- i.e., setting a massive container afloat on the open ocean for months at a time to reach a faraway land -- seems archaic.
But these days, the megaships transporting 18k 20’x8’ shipping containers apiece aren’t sailing on a hope and a prayer, they’ve got advanced nav systems to make sure they get where they’re going -- and a new brand of pirate gunning for their booty.
Now, on top of stormy seas, piracy, isolation, and political tension, crews have hackers to deal with.
Remember the massive malware outbreak “NotPetya” that held computers for ransom across the world last summer? Well, that little bug cost Danish shipping giant Maersk as much as $300m as they reinstalled software of “tens of thousands of PCs and servers” on their ships.
Companies focused on maritime cybersecurity have already started popping up to help companies protect the 10B tons of cargo shipped annually.
What’s the worst that could happen?
Aside from costing a $500B industry a few million doubloons, cyberpirates could also pull a Captain Phillips and commandeer the vessel, then ram it into another ship.
They could also target luxury “superyachts,” which are especially vulnerable to navigation hacking via Wi-Fi, and extort their wealthy passengers.
And, if being stuck on a cruise ship with thousands of tourists doesn’t already sound like a nightmare, getting stuck on one that’s been hijacked definitely would be.
LISTEN TO: Making the Brand podcast with Billy Draper, ~30 minutes
Longtime friend of The Hustle, Billy D, recently launched a podcast interviewing successful founders, and we were immediately hooked. Why? Because it’s exactly what we do at our events and people love it. The latest episode features the founder of Allbirds who turned a Kickstarter campaign into a footwear company with $28m in funding.
The Hustle wants to give you money. Here’s the deal: spread the good word of Hustle Con, and for each person who buys a ticket using your unique link, you’ll get $75. It’s that easy. Tell your friends, get paid. Consider it your next side gig. Plus, score extra prizes (like a free ticket for yourself).
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PITCH: your passion at WeWork’s Creator Awards in SF, FREE entry
Calling all entrepreneurs, creators, artists and anyone who embodies the WeWork credo: “Create Your Life’s Work.” WeWork’s Creator Awards is accepting applicants. Pitch your project to industry leaders and fellow creators to win up to $360k in funding. Applications close April 10th (open to anyone in the Western US and Canada).