Lyft accuses COO Travis VanderZanden, who jumped ship for Uber, of stealing confidential documents

The rivalry between cab-hailing apps Lyft and Uber jumped into gear this week after Lyft accused its former chief operating officer Travis VanderZanden of breaking a confidentiality agreement.

Travis VanderZanden left Lyft in August, joined Uber several months later

This accusation emerged after VanderZanden left Lyft for rival Uber, where he now serves as the vice president of international growth, allegedly in posession of confidential company documents.

A complaint filed by Lyft to the San Francisco superior court on Wednesday 5 November claimed that VanderZanden left the company in August after downloading to his Dropbox account a series of sensitive company documents including financial details and growth plans - items which could help shape strategy at Uber.

The firm added that the former COO had access to the Lyft Dropbox and had no reason to synchronise the documents with his personal account, especially as he was on the verge of leaving.

The complaint says: “VanderZanden’s possession of Lyft confidential information post-employment breached his confidentiality agreement. That agreement bars him from possessing, post-employment, any Lyft confidential and proprietary information, and prohibits him from using or disclosing such information to anyone.”

It added: “We are disappointed to have to take this step, but this unusual situation has left us no choice but to take the necessary legal action to protect our confidential information.”

Responding to the complaint VanderZanden tweeted:

This comes after Uber's Travis Kalanick admited derailing rival Lyft's May fundraiser earlier this week.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.