Simply weeks after Canoo took the wraps off of its electric vehicle, the Los Angeles-based startup and co-founder Stefan Krause has been accused of gender and marital discrimination, harassment, breach of contract, and wrongful termination in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
The lawsuit, which was filed by Christina Krause, the corporate’s former head of communications and Stefan Krause’s spouse, was first reported by The Verge.
A Canoo spokesperson mentioned the corporate doesn’t touch upon pending litigation.
The lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court docket makes numerous allegations in opposition to Stefan Krause and Canoo, together with that Christina Krause was paid lower than different founding members and never given the co-founder designation or the fairness stake that usually comes with that title regardless of being a founding worker. A lot of the lawsuit focuses on Stefan Krause, who stepped away from the CEO role at Canoo in August for private causes. Stefan Krause filed for divorce from Christina Krause in July 2019.
Ulrich Kranz, initially the corporate’s CTO, has since taken over the day-to-day operations of Canoo. Stefan Krause stays on the firm and is targeted on fundraising, in line with a spokesperson. His present title is chairman of the Advisory Board.
The lawsuit additionally reveals extra particulars about Canoo — initially named Evelozcity — its traders and the way it has scaled in a only a few years time.
A few of the nuggets that stood out, embrace its origin story and fast development. The corporate was based in late 2017, after a gathering in Hong Kong with Pak Tam “David” Li and David Stern, who would grow to be traders in Canoo, in line with the lawsuit. Canoo has by no means revealed the names of its major traders. Stern is a German entrepreneur who the lawsuit additionally lists as a good friend of Stefan Krause. Stern is listed as a director to UK incubator Pitch@Palace and as consultant for Celestial Limited.
Li, Stern and Stefan Krause made a “gents’s settlement” to start out an EV firm on the conclusion of the assembly and Christina Krause was tasked with securing expertise and performing different administrative duties associated to the formation of a brand new firm, the lawsuit says. The assembly with Li and Stern occurred across the similar time that Stefan Krause left his job as CFO of the troubled firm Faraday Future .
The corporate launched a month later, and by December it had 10 founding staff. 9 of these turned co-founders. Christina Krause alleges within the lawsuit that she was the one one excluded from the founder designation standing as a result of her “function wasn’t crucial for the constructing of the automotive.” She was additionally allegedly instructed that it could be “distasteful” for the spouse of a co-founder to additionally obtain the identical designation and get an fairness stake.
By March 2018, simply 4 months since its official formation, Canoo had greater than 100 staff. That quantity spiked once more to 200 by September, 300 by March 2019 and now reaches greater than 400, in line with the lawsuit.
As the corporate scaled, the connection between Christina and Stefan Krause deteriorated. It hit a brand new low in March 2019 when Stefan Krause allegedly requested his spouse to comply with a postnuptial settlement, which might presumably deal with how shares of Canoo can be divided within the occasion of a divorce. The lawsuit alleges that Stefan Krause, Stern and Krantz pressured Christina Krause to signal the settlement.
Canoo has accomplished the design and engineering of its car and is now getting ready it for manufacturing by an unnamed contract producer based mostly in Michigan. The primary vehicles are slated to seem on the street by 2021.