Has this happened to you or another founder? Someone invests in your company to gather information which they use to help a competitor launch a competing product?

I just read this excellent article on Pando.  The CEO of Postmates, a courier service, allowed one of the investors of Uber to invest in his company.  The CEO of Uber gave that investor the okay, and now Uber has launched a competing courier service.

I think it’s obvious that the investor in question likely never cared about his investment in Postmates.  Rather, he probably just joined the funding round in order to help gather infomation about Postmates so that Uber could use that info to launch a competing service.  

After all, he likely values his stock in Uber much more than his stock in Postmates; Uber is a way bigger company.  It would be like an investor who has invested in Dropbox, investing in another company then a few months later Dropbox launches a similar product to that companies; I would see that as foul play, just as in the case of Uber and Postmates.

  • Hmm, slightly scummy. Both companies have 7 investors in common. However, when they invested in PostMates, both companies were doing different things and VC can’t predict which way each startup will pivot/diversify netx…

  • I’m pretty sure they weren’t investing in postmates just to spy on them. It’s not like they were competitors. It’s probably after they invested Uber likely asked the VC about the company which is natural and gleaned information that led them to start a competing service.

    The only thing that this shows is VCs can’t be trusted to keep their mouth shut. I know from first hand experience this is true.

    • I’m the OP guy. Read the article. Two years ago the founder of Postmates approached the founder of Uber to let him know that he’s a fan and the founder of Uber said, “See you in the trenches.”, which means that he was already planning on competing with Postmates two years ago, which is before the Uber investor invested in Postmates.

      You think that the Uber founder didn’t plan it all out to spy on Postmates and gleam information from them through mutual investors?

      • In that case, why wasn’t Postmates more selective in choosing their investors? Ie, don’t accept $$ from a guy already invested in your potential rival.

        • Says right in the article. The founder of Postmates thought that if his company and Uber shared the same investors that they were unlikely to launch a competing business.

          So, he saw it as a defense mechanism, but really all it did was lull him into a false sense of security.

    • Not really. Individual investors don’t tend to contribute much in funding rounds; usually in the range of $50,000-$200,000, and the round was I believe $6 million. So, it’s chump change compared to the value of his shares in Uber, which will grow if they can expand their business by launching a competing service to Postmates.

      By the way, I’m the OP.

  • what does any one expect from uber who in the livery for hire sector simply cannot nor will not #playbytherules ? I mean really folks.

  • UBER is a bunch of crooks from top to bottom. If anything sneaky or underhanded can be done, UBER will be the first to do it.

    • Yes. I think their culture of corruption starts at the top with the CEO. He’s a douchebag. He denies any customer accusations of misbehavior on the part of Uber drivers.

      • The whole sharing economy startup scene is a scam. Using googles tried and true don’t be evil speak but targeting regulation instead of Microsoft. I can’t stand those mofos.

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