While Uber is still wrestling with a string of controversies including discrimination allegations and sexual harassments, this ride hailing giant is in between the last stage talks to acquire an engineering team from Luxe, the on-demand car valet startup. As per reliable reports, Uber has also been thinking of bringing onboard, some of the qualified workforce and technologies and team members from Luxe Valet Inc., as a part of the ‘acquihire’ that commonly occurs as a part of acquisitions. The talks also involved the incorporation of the technology that Luxe has been designing related to car rental service, which is yet be launched.
Founded in 2013, Luxe, the four-year-old San Francisco-based startup is known for its app that allows the drivers in big cities summon valets who would park their cars at a discounted price. The startup collected over USD 75 million in venture funding by rental car investors like Hertz, GV, Venrock, and also expanded its service base in Los Angeles and New York. But the business landscape of the company does not seem to be very promising as it shut down its Seattle operations recently and has claimed to launch a new parking service. Uber has reportedly been interviewing the workforce from Luxe to determine whom to keep after the acquisition. Although the complete picture of the deal is not yet unveiled, the general consensus is that Luxe will only be the given the responsibility of some portions of the business. The brand name however, will supposedly be retained.
Though the talks are in advanced stages, the deal is yet to be closed. If the strategic agreement succeeds, Uber, a renowned name in the global autonomous car market, would be able to obtain some of Luxe’s engineering experts and technologies who have been, for so long, directly involved in door-to-door car valet related services, including the short-term car rentals. However, it is also important to note that CEO Curtis Lee reportedly will not be a part of the deal and will not be joining Uber, as he is still expected to retain the Luxe brand by working on some versions of the company.
The strategic alliance will come into public at a time when Uber is already entangled with its latest high-profile controversies regarding self-driving technology and its unacceptable workplace culture. Recently, the company has laid off almost 20 employees following a probe on sexual harassment. It has also fired a top executive who obtained a medical record of a raped woman during an Uber’s ride. Amidst these controversies, it is yet to be seen whether this deal will prove to be beneficial for Uber to regain its lost reputation.