Enlarge / Dane Wilcox and his sister selling FYM hot sauce. (credit: Dan Wilcox)

Dane Wilcox had come to Boston for two reasons: hot sauce and Dota 2. Getting into a months-long courtroom fight with the world's largest startup was never in the plan.

The former IT consultant had become a hot-sauce entrepreneur in 2014, after a surprisingly successful Kickstarter campaign to launch his brand, "FYM Hot Sauce." He picked a quirky method of advertising that suited his own interests: Wilcox sponsored a team that played a popular video game, Dota 2. Wilcox played the game himself and had tired of seeing ads for gambling websites. So looking for a different and fun way to promote his product, he got a team on board and became its flagship sponsor.

After a long flight from his home in Portland, Oregon, Wilcox landed in Boston on December 5, 2016. He was looking forward to getting straight to the Airbnb he'd rented and getting some rest. But then he made a fateful decision—to use the Uber app to get a ride from the airport. It was the first Uber ride he'd ever taken.

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