Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick quietly made his first investment in an Indian startup

Travis Kalanick in 2018 launched his 10100 Fund that has focused on real-estate and cloud kitchens.

Source: Unsplash

Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted from his role as the company’s CEO due to investor pressure after a series of scandals, has made his first bet in an Indian startup–Rebel Foods, Bloomberg reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Through his new real estate venture City Storage Systems (CSS), Kalanick is said to have invested a small amount of money in India’s third-biggest foodtech company Rebel Foods as part of the company’s USD 125 million Series D funding round.

Earlier in September, the Mumbai-based startup that runs cloud kitchens–independent kitchens meant only for food delivery–had announced its Series D round led by Coatue PE Asia, Goldman Sachs, Indonesian ride-hailing company Gojek, and others.

Since his exit from Uber in 2017, Kalanick has set up a fund called 10100 Fund through which he bought a controlling stake worth USD 150 million in CSS, a real estate firm that buys up and redevelops struggling properties in countries including US, UK, Singapore, and South Korea, among others.

One of the business arms of CSS, called simply CloudKitchens, allows restaurants to setup delivery-only kitchens in different markets, with a focus on India and China. According to an SCMP report, Kalanick plans to bring CloudKitchens to China in partnership with Ofo’s ex-chief operating officer Zhang Yanqi.

Founded by Jaydeep Burman, Rebel Foods is India’s biggest cloud kitchen company. It operates over 250 ‘virtual restaurants’ under 11 different names such as Faaso’s, Behrouz Biryani, and Mandarin Oak, operating the kitchen and delivery services along with its own food brands.

In India, Rebel Foods competes with Bengaluru-based FreshMenu, InnerChef, Brekkie, and Meituan-backed Swiggy that operates two virtual restaurants called Homely and The Bowl Company. Along with operating its own food brands, Swiggy also provides physical delivery-only kitchens to its restaurant partners, helping them to expand from one city to another without having them invest in real estate costs.