A venture capitalist at Benchmark Capital is quietly moving over to its competing firm. This is the first public departure since the company filed a rather controversial lawsuit against the former CEO and co-founder of its most valuable portfolio company: Uber.
Kris Fredrickson, the Benchmark VC, is now going to work at the hedge fund Coatue Management. The job move amounts to a promotion. However, this is rather unexpected because Fredrickson is an important name in Benchmark’s legal and public relations fight against former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.
Fredrickson joined Benchmark in April 2016, according to his social media pages, and co-founded the skincare company Curology. He previously worked as a senior vice president at Munchery and before that spent six years at Goldman Sachs working on tech deals.
Fredrickson is not directly involved in the Uber fight; neither is he a partner at Benchmark. His name got dragged into the conflict when Uber investor Shervin Pishevar accused Fredrickson, saying he would be willing to harm Uber to staff other startups that he is an investor in.
“Benchmark principal Kris Fredrickson helped recruit Gautam Gupta, the head of finance and effectively the acting Uber CFO, to another company where he owned shares without ever informing Uber,” Pishevar alleged in a letter to Uber’s board of directors last month.
“In fact, Frederickson told his partner and Uber board member Bill Gurley six months earlier, but Gurley never told Travis Kalanick, exacerbating the crisis facing the company in May 2017 when Gupta left.”
Benchmark has denied any wrongdoing and even congratulated Fredrickson on his new role:
“Thrilled for @krisfredrickson to join Coatue as partner. Terrific opportunity. Grateful for all Kris has done for @benchmark” Benchmark said in a series of tweets after the news came out. “Can’t wait to work with @krisfredrickson and Coatue on more companies in the future!”
Coatue Invest is a technology-sector hedge fund that invests in public and private equity markets. It is led by Philippe Laffont, who founded the hedge fund after leaving Tiger Management in 1999. At Coatue, Fredrickson will be elevated to the position of a partner.