Uber Founder Grows CloudKitchens in Brazil with Capital Boost from Microsoft

Travis Kalanick has expanded his US startup CloudKitchens by buying and installing ‘dark kitchens’ in Latin America over the past three years

Foto: Morris/Bloomberg
September 07, 2022 | 03:38 PM
Reading time: 2 min.

Bloomberg Línea — Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) is investing $850 million in CloudKitchens, owned by Uber founder Travis Kalanick, the Financial Times quoted two people familiar with the deal as saying, but who asked not to be identified.

CloudKitchens is a ‘ghost kitchen’ startup, also known as ‘dark kitchens’, which produces food for different restaurant brands, buying a physical space to prepare meals for delivery or takeaway.

The newspaper reported that Kalanick has expanded CloudKitchens by buying and installing ‘dark kitchens’ in Latin America over the past three years, according to three former employees of the startup.

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According to the FT, the Uber founder - who was ousted as CEO of the ride-hailing app company - has 50 CloudKitchens branches spread across 11 cities in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, with 10 in Brazil alone, and has also launched the Pik N’ Pak brand in Latin America, convenience stores selling pet products and medicines.

In Brazil, CloudKitchens goes by the name Kitchen Central and is one of the largest dark kitchen operators in the country, according to FT.

The products of the warehouse company Pik N Pak are delivered through partnerships with delivery apps such as iFood, Rappi, and 99Food. In Brazil, Pik N Pak has shops to stock in Brasília, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte and São Paulo.

Pik N Pak is associated with ‘Cozinhas do Futuro’, the name of CloudKitchens in Brazil.

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Kalanick’s business partners in Brazil

The Pik N Pak brand has fewer than 50 followers on its LinkedIn pages and does not reveal how many people it employs.

Through the CruzaGrafos platform of the Brazilian Association of Investigative Journalism (Abraji), which uses public data, Bloomberg Línea was able to ascertain that Pik N Pak launched on April 18 this year and is managed by Leonardo Rolla Goulart Borja.

The legal representative of CloudKitchens in Brazil is Venezuelan Jorge Pilo, who was CEO of Easy Taxi and director of Groupon Brasil.

Screenshot/CruzaGrafosdfd

In 2018, Kalanick launched a venture capital fund, 10100, and published the following message on the company’s former website, which is no longer active:

“Earlier this month, I launched 10100, a fund that encompasses my passions, investments, ideas, and big bets, with a particular focus on real estate. I am excited to announce our first major deal in this area today: 10100 has agreed to acquire a controlling interest in CSS, City Storage Systems, a holding company focused on redeveloping distressed real estate assets, particularly in the equity, retail and industrial areas.”

“There is more than $10 trillion in these real estate assets that will need to be repurposed for the digital age in the coming years. The $150 million investment in CSS is driven by the huge opportunity to reposition unproductive assets to fuel job creation. Of particular interest are CSS’ key B2B initiatives, CloudKitchens and CloudRetail, which focused on acquiring and developing real estate for the food service and retail sectors. Upon closing the 10100 team expects to be highly involved in the operations of CSS, where I will serve as its CEO.”

Screenshot of CSS Holdings website through WayBack Machinedfd

Bloomberg Línea contacted Kalanick for comment, in addition to Leonardo Borja and Jorge Pilo.

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