Microsoft and Uber have formed some strange alliances in the past prompted by aligned business goals back when Microsoft had smartphone ambitions, but it seems the company is set to back co-founder and ex-CEO of Uber in a new “dark kitchen” initiative.
Former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has moved on from ride sharing services and is currently making moves into a WeWork for restaurant takeout.
The market for Ghost Kitchens took off during the pandemic when the idea of buying or leasing warehouses to multi-functional kitchen and prep spaces for use by branded and non-branded restaurants to prepare takeout orders, began paying dividends.
Last November, Microsoft participated in a round of funding for Uber’s co-founder Kalanick that raked in $850 million and launched his dark kitchen startup project dubbed CloudKitchens to a $15 billion valuation.
Previously, Microsoft bet $100 million on Kalanick and his vision for ride sharing, and eventually began integrating Uber into several of its own services and products such as Outlook, Windows 8 and 10, and Windows Phone Mobile.
Unfortunately, the Financial Times is also reporting that a “toxic” company culture similar to Uber’s is brewing at CloudKitches which has already forced senior level employees to leave.
It is unclear at this point what vision Microsoft may have with partnership, sponsorship or integration with CloudKitchen that would warrant more investment in Kalanick.