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One of Uber’s Most Powerful Women Leaves to Start a VC Fund

Lizette Chapman

(Bloomberg) -- Rachel Holt, one of the first employees at Uber Technologies Inc. who rose to become one of the most powerful women at the company, is leaving to start a venture capital firm.

Holt is teaming up with Dayna Grayson, a venture capitalist from New Enterprise Associates, to create the new firm, Construct Capital. Both women announced the moves on Twitter but didn’t offer details such as the target fund size. Neither responded to requests for comment.

The new firm increases the representation of women in venture capital, an industry dominated by men who bankroll startups mostly led by men. Just 12% of startup investment firms in the U.S. have women in decision-making roles with the power to write checks, according to a report by industry research firm PitchBook and advocacy group All Raise. Female venture partners are twice as likely to invest in startups with at least one female founder and more than three times as likely to back startups with female chief executive officers, the report noted.

Holt joined Uber in 2011 and later managed the North American ride-hailing business. Most recently, she led development of new mobility projects, such as electric bicycle and scooter rentals. Her departure to start a VC firm was reported earlier Tuesday by news site Axios.

In a statement, Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi called Holt’s departure “bittersweet.” Dennis Cinelli, an Uber executive who also did a stint at scooter startup Bird Rides Inc., will take over Holt’s role on an interim basis while Khosrowshahi searches for a replacement, a spokesman said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lizette Chapman in San Francisco at lchapman19@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Anne VanderMey

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