Travis Kalanick sued by major Uber investor

Who is Uber's Travis Kalanick?
Who is Uber's Travis Kalanick?

Uber cofounder Travis Kalanick is under fire again.

Kalanick is being sued by Benchmark, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm that was an early investor in Uber. Benchmark filed a complaint on Thursday; the news was first reported by Axios.

Kalanick, who denies the suit's allegations, stepped aside from his CEO duties in June. Investors including Benchmark urged him to resign following a series of crises at the company.

Benchmark argues that Kalanick withheld important information about Uber's mismanagement prior to the board's June 2016 decision to give Kalanick authority to create three new board seats. Those new positions, controlled by Kalanick, increase his influence over the board, which expanded from eight to 11 members.

Related: Uber's first CEO steps down

"Stockholders were not provided with all material information relevant to the decision to consent to the three additional Board seats," the complaint reads. "Had such information been disclosed to stockholders at the time, Benchmark and other stockholders would not have voted in favor of the amendment."

Benchmark alleges information was withheld about "a pervasive culture of gender discrimination and sexual harassment that ultimately prompted an investigation by the former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder."

It also claims that the cofounder failed to relay information about the alleged theft of medical records belonging to an Uber passenger who was raped in India. It further says that Kalanick failed to disclose information about self-driving car startup Otto, which was acquired by Uber. Uber's self-driving car tech is at the center of an ongoing lawsuit with Alphabet's Waymo.

"It is apparent that Kalanick has attempted to acquire the power to pack the Board to facilitate his desired re-appointment as Uber's CEO," the suit alleges. "Kalanick does not have the right to hold any seat on Uber's Board."

Related: Uber admits it rented fire-prone cars to drivers

According to the complaint, Benchmark owns 13% of Uber, which is valued at $68 billion. Kalanick owns 10% of the company.

"The lawsuit is completely without merit and riddled with lies and false allegations," Kalanick's spokesperson said in a statement. "Benchmark's lawsuit is a transparent attempt to deprive Travis Kalanick of his rights as a founder and shareholder and to silence his voice regarding the management of the company he helped create."

Uber and Benchmark declined to comment.

Also on Thursday, Ryan Graves, who was Uber's first employee and its first CEO, stepped down.

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