Bob Lee, a tech executive and investor who was instrumental in creating the mobile payment service Cash App, was fatally stabbed on the street in San Francisco on Tuesday, according to his family.
The San Francisco Police Department said it responded to a call about a stabbing in the Rincon Hill neighborhood about 2:35 a.m. on Tuesday. The police did not initially identify the victim, a 43-year-old man with “apparent stab wounds,” who died at a hospital.
But KPIX, the local CBS affiliate, reported that friends of Mr. Lee said he was the victim, which was confirmed Wednesday morning on Facebook by his father, Rick Lee of Miami, as well as public officials.
The San Francisco district attorney, Brooke Jenkins, said on Twitter that no arrests had been made in the case as of Wednesday morning. “We do not tolerate these horrific acts of violence in San Francisco,” she said.
Matt Dorsey, the Democratic San Francisco city supervisor who represents Rincon Hill, a neighborhood of condos and corporate offices near the Bay Bridge, said on Twitter that Mr. Lee’s death was “a senseless tragedy that I know is made worse by the fact that no suspect is yet in custody.”
Mr. Dorsey said that he had been speaking with the police about the investigation into the stabbing since Tuesday morning.
“I’ve also heard from many constituents in the area — some of whom have already voiced concerns to me about public safety challenges — and I’m asking everyone to cooperate with police in their investigation, especially those with access to surveillance video that may help,” Mr. Dorsey said.
Late Wednesday, the San Francisco police chief, William Scott, confirmed in a release that Mr. Lee had been the victim, noting that the investigation was “still in the early stages” and extending his condolences to “the family, friends and loved ones of Mr. Lee.”
“There is no place for violent crime against anyone in our city,” Chief Scott said in the statement. “I want to assure everyone that our investigators are working tirelessly to make an arrest and bring justice to Mr. Lee and his loved ones, just as we try to do on every homicide that occurs in our city.”
Mr. Lee had recently moved to Miami, according to his father’s Facebook post. Rick Lee wrote that he moved in with his son after Bob’s mother died in 2019, and that they had made the move to Florida in October. It was not known how long Mr. Lee had been in San Francisco on his latest visit or where he was staying.
“Bob would give you the shirt off his back,” his father wrote in a Facebook post. “He would never look down on anyone and adhered to a strict no-judgment philosophy.”
His brother, Tim Oliver Lee, also posted on Facebook about his brother’s death. “I was so fortunate to grow up with him, and I feel like I’ve lost part of myself,” he said.
At the time of his death, Bob Lee, 43, was the chief product officer of MobileCoin, a cryptocurrency start-up based in San Francisco. He was focused on improving financial systems, giving people more privacy in their transactions and allowing them to send money across international borders without paying steep fees, said those who worked alongside him, in an outpouring of memories and anecdotes about Mr. Lee on social media on Wednesday.
To do so, Mr. Lee tapped his deep experience in the technology world. Before he joined MobileCoin in 2021, he was the chief technology officer of the payment company Square, which was renamed Block in 2021. There, he was instrumental in the creation of Cash App, a service that allows users to quickly send and receive money from their phones.
Mr. Lee initiated the first transaction on the service, sending $4 to Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter and chairman of Block. Mr. Dorsey called Mr. Lee’s death “heartbreaking” on his social media site, Nostr.
“Bob was instrumental to Square and Cash App,” he wrote.
In a screenshot of the 2013 payment, which Mr. Dorsey shared on social media, Mr. Lee can be seen congratulating Mr. Dorsey on his company’s upcoming fourth anniversary. “Mr. Dorsey—come here—I want to see you,” Mr. Lee wrote.
The message illustrated Mr. Lee’s penchant for convening friends.
“Everywhere Bob went he made friends,” Joshua Goldbard, the founder and chief executive of MobileCoin, wrote. “He did this by being a person who brought people together. He was loved far and wide because of his ability to build community.”
While Mr. Lee was perhaps best known for his work on Cash App, he was admired among engineers for his work as a software engineer at Google, where he worked on Android, an operating system for smartphones. He was also a start-up adviser, investing in companies that included SpaceX and Clubhouse, according to his LinkedIn.
Mr. Goldbard said on Twitter that Mr. Lee “was like a brother to me” and had a “kaleidoscopic” mind.
“Pick a topic and Bob would be right there with you telling you all of the ways he had thought about the idea already,” Mr. Goldbard said.
The chief executive of the design platform, Figma, Dylan Field, said on Twitter that he had first met Mr. Lee in 2006. “He didn’t care that I was only 14 and we talked tech / geeked out about programming,” Mr. Field said.
Bill Barhydt, the chief executive of digital financial platform Abra, said on Twitter that Mr. Lee “was a generous decent human being who didn’t deserve to be killed.”
Megan Quinn, a start-up investor, said on Twitter that Mr. Lee was “always encouraging, always upbeat.”
“He was always smiling,” she said. “That’s how I will remember him.”
Violent crime rates in some major cities are still recovering from a 2020 surge associated with the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Across the country, crime has been steadily declining for most of the last quarter of a century.
Homicides in San Francisco have risen slightly in recent years since dropping in 2019 to 41 people, the lowest number in nearly 60 years, according to the city. The number of homicides rose to 56 deaths in 2022.
As of April 2, there have been 12 homicides in San Francisco this year, according to the San Francisco Police Department. In the same period in 2022, there had been 10 homicides.
Elon Musk, the chief executive of Twitter and Tesla, said he was “very sorry to hear” of Mr. Lee’s death and pressed the city’s district attorney to do more to prevent violent crime. “Is the city taking stronger action to incarcerate repeat violent offenders?” he wrote in a tweet directed at Brooke Jenkins, the district attorney.
Susan C. Beachy contributed research.