Early Tesla and Uber investor Jason Calacanis is calling for a merger of the two companies, which he says could “beat everybody at transportation.”
Calacanis says that it would also solve Uber’s CEO search by making Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, in charge of both companies.
The suggestion comes at a time of crisis for Uber, which suffered from a series of culture-related scandals that led to the ousting of founder and CEO, Travis Kalanick. On top of that, the ride-sharing company is stuck in a massive lawsuit against Alphabet’s Waymo over their self-driving effort.
The troubles led to internal struggles between investors. On his ‘This Week in Startups’ podcast Friday, Calacanis said (via CNBC):
“We need to get back to that sense of camaraderie and resolve these issues for the employees and the stakeholders in Uber. We need the founder involved. Banishing the founder is a mistake.”
Now he suggests that a merger with Tesla could solve some of those issues.
Calacanis, who has investments in both companies, added:
“If those two companies were together, they would beat everybody at transportation. They’re on a collision course for sure.”
The investor suggests that combining forces could help both companies through that collision.
Calacanis is right. They’re definitely on a “collision course”. As we recently reported, Tesla has been building up more and more features in its vehicles to support its upcoming Tesla Network, a ride-sharing service that should compete directly with Uber.
But the question is: what do they have to gain?
At its core, Uber is simply an app. A few lines of code. Of course, it has now become much more than that. They have powerful brand recognition as a leading ride-sharing platform and an extensive network of drivers around the world.
That’s what Tesla would be buying into with a merger.
The problem is that Tesla’s own service would get rid of drivers since it has been linked to its upcoming ‘full self-driving capability’ and they plan to build on their existing base of customers, reservation holders, and enthusiasts to build their ride-sharing network.
It’s hard to see where Tesla would see value in joining forces with Uber at that level.
Furthermore, the company already fired the first shot by highlighting in its fine prints that its upcoming ‘full self-driving capability’ will be banned from being used by other ride-sharing services, like Uber and Lyft.
On Uber’s side, they would, of course, value access to Tesla’s fleet and self-driving technology. But as we recently reported based on text messages between former CEO Kalanick and VP of Self-Driving Technology, Anthony Levandowski, they are actually critical of Tesla’s autonomous driving strategy.
At this point, when you also account for the fact that each company is now valued at over $50 billion, it seems unlikely that a merger would ever happen.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.