Opening Bell 11.8.19 - Dealbreaker

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TRAV-ESTY

The OG bad boy of ride-sharing, Travis Kalanick, has moved on to a new venture that just announced it has secured $400M via a funding round from Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (which actually closed back in January of this year).

Travis’ company, CloudKitchens, purchases low-cost real estate to be used as commissary kitchens for delivery-only companies and even develops its own products that it delivers via UberEats. Oh, the irony. Some companies will also create “special” (read: days old) menu items that are only available via apps.

Bros before foes

T-Kal’s relationship with the Saudi wealth fund began during his time at Uber. The PIF was an early investor in the ride-sharing company. And Kalanick became fast friends with Yasir al-Ramayyan, who had his back during his well-documented ouster as CEO of Uber. Read: they were Adam Neumann and Masa Son before it was cool ...

The bottom line ...

This is the first Saudi investment in a Silicon Valley company since Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered. That is part of the reason why the investment was kept quiet for so long. 

Kalanick has raised $700M, including his own money, to expand the not-so-novel concept in other cities. As the delivery game heats up, low-cost food production could be a way to capitalize on the trend.

Saudis Back Travis Kalanick’s New Startup  [WSJ]

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