Startup Street: Travis Kalanick Is Back
Travis Kalanick, billionaire and former chief executive officer of Uber Technologies. (Photographer: Krisztian Bocsi/Bloomberg)

Startup Street: Travis Kalanick Is Back

This week on Startup Street, Uber co-founder and former Chief Executive Officer, Travis Kalanick, is back in the startup space nearly a year after his controversial exit from the cab aggregator. An Indian med-tech startup’s product, meant for the Indian armed forces, will now be marketed in America. Electric bike startup Alta Motors received a boost from iconic bike maker - Harley Davidson, and food discovery unicorn Zomato is introducing measures to keep India’s restaurant-goers safe from fire hazards. Here are the details.

Uber’s Ex-CEO Kalanick Is Back In The Startup Scene

Travis Kalanick, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)
Travis Kalanick, co-founder and former chief executive officer of Uber Technologies Inc. (Photographer: Udit Kulshrestha/Bloomberg)

Co-founder of ride-hailing giant Uber Travis Kalanick has picked up his first known appointment nearly a year after he was had to step down as the company's chief executive officer following shareholders’ revolt.

Kalanick will join the board of California-based healthcare software startup Kareo Inc., a company spokesperson told Bloomberg. He had been an angel investor in Kareo which builds clinical management, billing and marketing solutions software.

The startup was founded by a friend of Kalanick, Dan Rodrigues. The two had co-founded a music search company Scour in 1997.

Kalanick had stepped down from Uber in June last year, after investors expressed their displeasure following a series of controversies ranging from allegations of sexual harassment, discrimination and a male-dominated culture. Kalanick stayed on the board of directors though and helped pick his successor, Dara Khosrowshahi.

According to Crunchbase, Kareo has raised about $125 million in venture capital funding till date.

This Med Startup’s Super Band-Aid Just Got A U.S. FDA Nod

(Source: Axio Biosolution Website)
(Source: Axio Biosolution Website)

Med-tech startup Axio Biosolutions’s first aid band-aid is the first Indian product to receive a 510(K) FDA clearance in the U.S. for its external haemostatic dressing, according to a statement.

A 501(K) approval means that a medial device is “substantially equivalent to a legally marketed device that is not subject to premarket approval,” according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Axiostat, the startup’s “medical device”, is a haemostatic band-aid with a sponge-like layer that stops bleeding within two to three minutes of applying it. The product is supplied extensively to the Indian armed forces and will now be marketed in the U.S. by Avdamedica Inc.

This is a validation of the performance, safety and efficacy of Axiostat in bleeding control. We developed Axiostat to be a world-class quality product and this clearance reiterates that.
Leo Mavely, Chief Executive Officer, Axio Biosolutions  

Earlier this year, Axio Biosolutions had raised $7.4 million in a Series B funding round led by Ratan Tata's UC- RNT, along with existing investors Accel Partners and IDG Ventures India.

Electric Bike Startup Gets Boost From Harley Davidson

Alta Motors’ Redshift MX electric motocross bike. (Source: Alta Motors)
Alta Motors’ Redshift MX electric motocross bike. (Source: Alta Motors)

Iconic bikemaker Harley Davidson has invested an undisclosed sum of money in Alta Motors, a closely held startup that specialises in making lightweight electric motorcycles.

The two companies will now collaborate on electric motorcycle technology and future product development, according to a Harley Davidson media release on the stock exchanges. "Alta has demonstrated innovation and expertise in EVs and their objectives alight closely with ours," said Harley Davidson chief Matt Levatich in the press statement.

We each have strengths and capabilities that will be mutually beneficial as we work together to develop cutting-edge electric motorcycles.
Matt Levatich, President, and CEO, Harley Davidson

This reiterates Harley's strategy to make a leapstart in the nascent electric motorcycle market. It has already announced that it will launch its first all-electric motorcycle, codenamed Project LiveWire, in 2019.

On the other hand, Alta Motors has been building lightweight dirt-bikes focused on off-roading. They aim to "attract new audiences who are inspired by motorcycles and drawn to the ‘twist-and-go’ ease and exhilaration of an electric motorcycle with no gears or clutch", through this tieup, the company said in a press release.

Zomato To Display Restaurants’ Fire Safety Licence

Restaurant aggregator and food ordering startup Zomato will now display fire licenses of restaurants that share the certificates with them, on its application.

In a blog post called ‘Responsibility’, the unicorn said that it is actively reaching out to businesses to furnish their fire safety documents. A handful of restaurants have already done so, it said. Restaurants that fail to share their licence will show a ‘denied’ symbol against their listing.

This comes after multiple incidents of fire breaking out at restaurants in Mumbai and other parts of the country, including a fire in Kamala Mills which claimed at least 14 lives. “This was also a deeply introspective moment for us here at Zomato,” the blog post said.

“Putting up fire safety license scans on Zomato is just a small start – most restaurants in India ‘technically’ need a fire license to start operating, and I am sure we will be able to get and display fire licenses for most places. The problem is deeper and systemic in nature (e.g. fake licenses) with so many other involved parties, and the answers are going to be complex. We don’t have all the answers right now.” 

The eventual goal, however, is to make safety information available easily on the website so that the Zomato “user community can make informed choices”.

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