Start ups are known for causing disruption and getting in hot water with regulators, but rarely is there a road map for navigating politics and working with regulators. In this episode, I’m talking with someone who did all of that and more for Uber and who currently runs a venture fund helping start ups navigate politics, regulatory issues and more. 

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    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

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    • Have you ever wondered how new start ups navigate politics? In this episode, I chat with Bradley Tusk of Tusk Ventures about his role with new companies and his new book, The Fixer.
    • I’m excited about this interview because Bradley is in a unique position – he comes from a political background and used what he learned to work with start-ups like Uber, Bird, Lemonade and many other big names.
    • Depending on the industry these new start ups are in, they can run into trouble with regulations – which is where Bradley comes in
    • The holidays are coming, which means it’s the perfect time of year to purchase The Rideshare GuideWhether you’re just getting signed up or you want to learn more about the industry, this book is definitely something you should take a look at. I even signed a few copies at Barnes & Noble at The Grove in Los Angeles and left them up on the shelf!

    Interview with Bradley Tusk

    • Bradley Tusk is the CEO and founder of Tusk Ventures, the first venture capital fund dedicated to working with and investing in start ups in regulated industries
    • His fund has worked with and invested in dozens of start ups like Bird, FanDuel, Lemonade, Eaze, and more
    • His book, The Fixer, details his work helping some of the world’s most successful start ups navigate the world of politics and regulations
    • Get your first audiobook FREE when you sign up with a 30 day trial of Audible! Sign up with Audible using our link to receive your first audiobook free here.

    Politics + Start Ups

    • A lot of similarities between political campaigns and start ups, at least early on
    • Politics ends up being a lot tougher; with start ups, people are usually working on changing something, doing different things better – more interesting than politics
    • Getting funding was challenging at first, but then was lucky to get Lemonade, FanDuel and other start ups, which made additional collaborations easier

    Working with Cities + Start Ups

    • Running campaigns for start ups is similar to working in city/state politics – the things that Bradley learned in government have been very helpful for the start ups he’s worked with
    • Sometimes founders/people in start ups don’t understand the politics, which is where Bradley comes in
    • If a politician can’t see the value in a start up (in terms of getting re-elected) s/he won’t probably support it, regardless of its positive impact on constituents

    Uber + New York City

    • Was working with Uber when NYC decided to impose caps on Uber’s growth
    • Decided to fight city hall – went left of de Blasio, which was unexpected
    • Had people call, email and tweet their support for Uber, which worked to change the tide

    The Future of Uber + Lessons Learned

    • The 2018 fight in NYC was very different, Uber has a kinder, non-confrontational attitude now, very different from 2011
    • Uber should be highlighting how it’s still a reliable form of transportation and that it is pursuing other forms of transportation – it’s still inherently a good company providing a good service to many people
    • Uber appears to be methodically heading toward an IPO and doing all the right things to get there
    • Bradley is looking to invest in companies that understand regulation is an issue and should have the resources to be solved
    • No one size fits all approach to tackling regulation in cities and states across the country
    • Mobilizing people who use the service is also key – so many of these disruptive start ups benefit lots of people, but city council members typically don’t hear about it – so make it easy for them to have their opinions heard

    Bird vs. Uber

    • There’s no “Big Scooter” out there, like there was Big Taxi for Uber
    • Not a lot of money spent against scooter companies right now, but there are pubic policy questions that Uber didn’t have to deal with
    • With Bird, it’s a hybrid of ‘ask for permission/beg for forgiveness’ depending on the market


    • Big thanks to Bradley for coming on and don’t forget to check out his book here on Amazon, or you can get your copy of The Fixer at Barnes & Noble. Learn more about it at
    • If you have questions about the book, just reach out to him on his site or on Twitter
    • It’s always interesting to hear different perspectives in rideshare and start ups, and Bradley is no exception with his background in politics and experience working with start ups
    • If you’re looking for some good books to read about rideshare or start ups, I recommend checking out my book The Rideshare Guide and pick up a copy of The Fixer while you’re at it!

    Show Notes

    If you’d like to read a transcript of this podcast, please click here.

    Harry Campbell

    Harry Campbell

    I'm Harry, the owner and founder of The Rideshare Guy Blog and Podcast. I used to be a full-time engineer but now I'm a rideshare blogger! I write about my experience driving for Uber, Lyft, and other services and my goal is to help drivers earn more money by working smarter, not harder.