Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Five years ago, Zocdoc was one of New York's hottest tech companies. It raised venture funding at a $1.8 billion valuation, back when that was still rare, and seemed poised to become the industry standard for physician discovery and appointment scheduling.

Fast forward: According to a lawsuit filed yesterday in the New York Supreme Court, there was a behind-the-scenes power struggle that co-founder and former CEO Cyrus Massoumi now refers to as a fraudulent "coup."

  • Since that time, Zocdoc hasn't raised any VC funding, and investors Founders Fund and Khosla Ventures have relinquished their board seats.

Background: Massoumi's late 2015 departure was referred to in press reports as "relinquishing his day-to-day role," with plans that he'd stick around as company chairman.

  • It was a bit eyebrow-raising, given the company's trajectory, but the company was already eight years old and Massoumi was to be succeeded by a fellow co-founder.
  • In other words, it didn't really make waves.

What's happening: Massoumi alleges in his lawsuit that company co-founders (Nick Ganju and Oliver Kharraz) and CFO (Netta Samroengraja) orchestrated a plot to oust him from the company, during a November 2015 board meeting.

  • At the time, Massoumi claims Zocdoc was in the process of finding replacements for both Kharraz (then COO) and CFO Samroengraja. Both allegedly were aware of those plans, with some candidate interviews even taking place the morning of the board meeting.
  • Massoumi expected the board meeting to be run-of-the-mill, based on prepared board books he received ahead of time.
  • Once the meeting began, however, the expected topics were allegedly eschewed in favor of Ganju and Kharraz moving to fire Massoumi as CEO.
  • The company's voting structure effectively gave proxy control to any two co-founders working together. But Massoumi could have individually assumed majority control via an early exercise feature of his options, had he believed there was a reason to do so.
  • Khosla Ventures partner David Weiden allegedly voted in favor of the switch, with Massoumi alleging he appeared to know about the plan (neither Khosla Ventures nor Weiden is named as a defendent, and Weiden declined comment on the situation).
  • Founders Fund's Ken Howery (now U.S. ambassador to Sweden) allegedly did not support the "coup."

What they're saying: Massoumi claims the company has deteriorated in his absence, and his list of required reliefs includes reinstallation as CEO.

  • Zocdoc did not respond to a request for comment.

Go deeper

Harry and Meghan accuse British royal family of racism

Photo: Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via Reuters

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle delivered a devastating indictment of the U.K. royal family in their conservation with Oprah Winfrey: Both said unnamed relatives had expressed concern about what the skin tone of their baby would be. And they accused "the firm" of character assassination and "perpetuating falsehoods."

Why it matters: An institution that thrives on myth now faces harsh reality. The explosive two-hour interview gave an unprecedented, unsparing window into the monarchy: Harry said his father and brother "are trapped," and Markle revealed that the the misery of being a working royal drove her to thoughts of suicide.

Updated 3 hours ago - Axios Twin Cities

In photos: Thousands rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Demonstrators on March 7 outside the Hennepin County Government Center, where the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, charged with murdering George Floyd, will begin in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of protesters marched through Minneapolis' streets Sunday, urging justice for George Floyd on the eve of the start of former police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death, per AFP.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start Monday, with jury selection procedures.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
7 hours ago - Health

Pfizer CEO feels "liberated" after taking COVID vaccine

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla tells "Axios on HBO" that he recently received his first of two doses of the company's coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Bourla told CNBC in December that company polling found that one of the most effective ways to increase confidence in the vaccine was to have the CEO take it.