Uber woe shows investors’ growing role in startups

The unexpected resignation of Travis Kalanick as Uber’s CEO under pressure from investors and series of controversies around largest technology startup, has focused the spotlight on the role of the governing boards of online companies, including Nigeria and other developing countries.

Investors are increasingly becoming more involved in steering the fortunes of domestic Internet companies after pouring in millions of dollars into them in 2014 and 2015, according to The Economics Times. 

The boards of several emerging companies, mostly comprising investors, are seeking to insert professional executives as chief operating or business officers as entrepreneurs struggle to cope with a tougher funding and business environment for startups.Image result for uber saga

Responsibility lies with board too

Kalanick was forced to resign by investors including Benchmark and Fidelity following a series of scandals and allegations of mismanagement. The ouster of one of the most tenacious tech entrepreneurs who took on governments and created a disruptive global business potentially signals the end of the ‘cult of the founder’ era, in which no questions were asked as long as companies delivered growth.

The Economics Times quotes K Ganesh, serial entrepreneur and cofounder of startup incubator GrowthStory, who said that Kalanick’s exit is a “wake-up call for everybody in the ecosystem.” “Investors and boards have to set the tone and culture and define what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behaviour”.

Read also: Uber now allows tipping for drivers officially

In India, domestic Internet giants Flipkart and Snapdeal have already seen their investors — Tiger Global Management and Soft-Bank, respectively — take more control as the companies struggled with business execution. At Flipkart, former Tiger Global executive Kalyan Krishnamurthy took charge as CEO earlier this year after joining as COO, and at Snapdeal, SoftBank is leading discussions to sell the company.

Courtesy The Economics Times

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