Can a tech company grow too quickly?

That was the question I asked myself when I was listening to the continuing troubles at Uber.

Uber’s co-founder Travis Kalanick is clearly a brilliant visionary who has grown the business from a ride-sharing idea into a global tech giant with a valuation of $70bn.

The problem is Uber, and Kalanick in particular, are attracting negative headlines at an alarming rate.

READ MORE: Putting elite sports data into the hands of amateurs

Dashboard footage of Uber’s CEO getting involved in an argument with one of his own drivers prompted questions about his management style.

So is Uber a victim of its own success?

Tech is the rocket fuel of growth but if the structure and internal governance procedures don’t grow at the same pace as the company then the wheels can quickly fall off.

I was talking about this with one of the North’s most talented entrepreneurs David Grimes. He’s the founder and CEO of Sorted Group, which has just rebranded from MPD Group, and is shaking up the delivery sector.


David Grime, the founder and CEO of Sorted Group

In the last 18 months the company has grown from a staff of six to 75 and the figure is rising. Grimes has already bagged investment totalling £7.5m and is close to finalising another £5m.

Such is their growth they’re just about to move into their third Manchester office in 18 months and will be quadrupling in size.

“If you could do it all again what would you do differently?” I asked.

Without a moment’s hesitation the 34-year-old said: “I would have brought in more experienced people in earlier in the journey.”

Grimes has attracted some really big names to his company and says entrepreneurs shouldn’t  be afraid to pay big and offer equity to get the superstars.

“Having the right team around me has helped me let go,” admitted Grimes, who no longer worries about the minutiae of the business, like filling the photocopier with paper.

 “It’s the best thing I ever did,” revealed Grimes. “The CEO sets the culture of the business.”


Has Uber's CEO worked out how to let go?

Sorted Group (or MPD Group as it was previously known) has grown very quickly but Grimes said the growth hasn’t been unsustainable because the firm has always delivered for the customers.

“If you stop delivering then you’ve got problems,” he said.

Grimes has also spent a lot of money on PR and marketing because having the right image is an important weapon in attracting and retaining staff.

“You have to look after your staff,” he told me. “You have to create a nice place for them to want to work and be flexible.”

I don’t know Travis Kalanick or the inner workings of Uber to know what’s gone on but all the reports suggest Kalanick hasn’t learnt to let go.

His combative style of leadership was a strength in growing Uber but now appears to be the company’s Achilles heel.

If Kalanick can’t create the right culture for Uber then the journey ahead will be even bumpier than the current one he’s enduring.