Dalian - World Economic Forum

Don't tar us all with same brush says tech leader of Uber's CEO departure

Key Points
  • "Dangerous" to bucket start-ups together, says Uptake Technologies' Brad Keywell.
  • Concerns over the culture at many start-ups has grown following former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's high-profile departure.
  • Uptake Technologies will keep focus on using predictive technologies.
  • Fourth industrial revolution is not about getting rid of people but about making people do their jobs better.
Whether it's Uber or others, companies should do things the right way: Keywell
Whether it's Uber or others, companies should do things the right way: Keywell

Concerns over start-up culture following former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick's high-profile departure from the company he co-founded may be prompting some to bucket such companies together, but this is "dangerous", a senior technology industry executive said on Tuesday.

"I think it's a shame when there's a generalization about unicorns or some aggregation of all businesses that are making an impact entrepreneurially and in industries," said Brad Keywell, co-founder and CEO of Uptake Technologies.

Calling such generalizations "unfortunate", Keywell said that Uptake Technologies will nonetheless continue to focus on doing the "right thing and doing it better than others."

"I hope that every company does things the right way, but if you will, when one person trips, all of us have to run more precisely or purposefully," he told CNBC on the sidelines of World Economic Forum's annual June meeting in Dalian.

Kalanick resigned from Uber on June 20. The New York Times reported several board members demanded the CEO leave the company after a string of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations against the company's leadership surfaced. He remains on Uber's board.

Uptake Technologies meanwhile is keeping its focus on using predictive technologies that will help people do their jobs better or make them "super human".

Predictive analytics can help the operations including those of wind farms, freeing up employees for more productive activities, says CEO of Uptake Technologies, Brad Keywell.
Getty Images

"I think the fourth industrial revolution of major industries is not about getting rid of people and it's not about machines taking over, it's about people at their very best based upon data, insight and action," said Keywell, who is also a founder of Groupon.

For instance, data from existing assets can be used to optimize the operations of wind turbine or alternative energy plants.

"Because there's less need for coal and other more pollutive energy, there's a better ability to take people in these industries and optimize their activity; 'super human' if you will," said Keywell.

"There are opportunities when you are able to see your future."

Launched in 2014, the predictive analytics provider has reportedly reached $2 billion in valuation and now employs over 700. Clients include industrial giant Caterpillar and Berkshire Hathaway Energy.

Uptake Technologies is involved in eight industries now including rail, energy, aviation, construction and mining.