Ride-sharing platform Lyft has sued its former COO, Travis VanderZanden, for allegedly breaching a confidentiality agreement, charging that he uploaded company documents to a personal Dropbox account before joining rival operator Uber.
In the suit filed in California, San Francisco-based Lyft also alleges that VanderZanden, who is now vice president of international growth at Uber, violated the confidentiality agreement by breaching a provision that prohibited him from joining a competitor without Lyft’s express written consent.
The charges of deceit and betrayal against VanderZanden reflect the heated and bitter competition between the two companies. On Twitter, VanderZanden wrote that “Lyft’s PR has lost it, the allegations in their complaint are ridiculous.”
In a complaint in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of San Francisco, Lyft said VanderZanden became COO of the company after it purchased his mobile car-washing company in March last year primarily to hire its team.
As COO, VanderZanden had access to confidential and sensitive information including financial data, forecasts, and information on strategic plans and products planned by Lyft.
He is accused of transferring more than 98,000 files and folders to a personal Dropbox account before announcing his resignation. Some of the documents contained confidential Lyft information such as the company’s per-quarter roadmap for 2014, a confidential presentation summarizing Lyft’s growth through 2013 with key metrics such as per-city revenue, ride and performance analysis and product updates and plans, and a spreadsheet with financial forecasts through December 2016.
VanderZanden is also charged with selling his iPhone, which could have contained confidential information, “to cover his tracks.”
VanderZanden did not turn in his laptop to Lyft after his last day of employment on Aug. 15, and also broke off without notice negotiations with company co-founders, Logan Green and John Zimmer, according to the complaint, a copy of which was obtained by TechCrunch.
Lyft claims to have found out that the documents were misappropriated after a forensic analysis of the company laptop that was retrieved from VanderZanden some days after he left the company.
The company also claims that VanderZanden refused to sign a termination agreement which would have contracted him to continue to keep the company’s documents confidential. He is also charged with breaking an agreement not to solicit Lyft employees for one year after leaving the company.
Lyft is asking the court to prevent VanderZanden from retaining or sharing the data with third parties, including Uber and its employees.