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Silicon Valley may need to rethink the 'gravitational pull' to support founders, Uber investor says

  • "There's a strong gravitational pull in the Valley to support founders as long as you possibly can," Uber investor Steve Vassallo tells CNBC.
  • " But the one thing you cannot overcome is when you have just lost the team," he says.
Co-founder of Uber Travis Kalanick attends an Oscar party on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Mike Coppola | Getty Images
Co-founder of Uber Travis Kalanick attends an Oscar party on February 26, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.

The ouster of Travis Kalanick may signal that Silicon Valley must rethink its love affairs with tech founders, Uber investor Steve Vassallo said Wednesday.

"There's a strong gravitational pull in the Valley to support founders as long as you possibly can. But the one thing you cannot overcome is when you have just lost the team. And I think it was clear Travis had lost the team," Foundation Capital's general partner said on CNBC's "Squawk Alley."

Vassallo spoke after a revolt by five major investors forced 40-year-old co-founder Kalanick to step down as head of the ride-hailing company. The departure came as Uber faced increased scrutiny following an investigation into its culture and workplace practices.

Bill Gurley, a board member and early investor in Uber, tweeted Wednesday morning that Kalanick left "a lasting impact on the world." Uber and Kalanick released statements supporting the move.

Vassallo said if he were on Uber's board, he would have supported the move to oust Kalanick, calling it "long overdue." He added that it's time for Silicon Valley to start thinking about diversity inclusion from "day zero."

"It's very hard to bolt on. It's going to be a challenge for Uber," he said. "It's going to have to start at the board. It's going to have to start very quickly with the new management team. This is going to be jacking up the house and replacing the foundation."

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