Happy Birthday Travis Kalanick: The Man Behind The World’s Most Valued Startup, Uber

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The idea of a platform that provides the needy with essential services and reinvents them to become a reality is incredible. With sales being a primary focus as a young boy, Travis Cordell Kalanick excelled in selling knives door-to-door for Cutco company. He loved mathematics and devised easy means to get through the calculations in lesser time. These calculations and analysis helped him comprehend the wait time of the commuters for taxis in San Francisco. In order to solve this problem, he came up with the innovative concept of Uber, which is today’s world’s most-valued ride-hailing startup with a valuation of over $90 billion.

Date of Birth: August 6, 1976

Net Worth: $2.8 Billion (as of August 2022)

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Travis Kalanick, co-founder and former CEO of Uber, and Co-founder of Red Swoosh, is celebrating his 45th birthday today. To make this occasion a memorable one it is a small endeavor to unleash some of the interesting yet less-known facts about Travis Kalanick.

  1. Travis Kalanick’s First Venture: After dropping- out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1998, he, along with his schoolmates, co-founded Scour Inc., a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a peer-to-peer file sharing service. However, in September 2000, the company filed for bankruptcy.
  2. Failure never means the end, and with this motivation in 2001, Travis Kalanick co-founded Red Swoosh, with Michael Todd. It was another peer-to-peer file-sharing company. Interestingly, on On April 12, 2007, Akamai Technologies acquired Red Swoosh for approximately $19 million. Kalanick received $2 million from the deal after taxes and moved to San Francisco.
  3. Uber adopted a unique culture of rating users. Though there are a number of early apps requesting feedback from the customer, this stands out to be a unique feature allowing the drivers to rate the customers. The customers with the least rating are less preferred by the drivers owing to a long wait. In honour of five-year anniversary of Uber on June 3, 2015, the co-founder Travis Kalanick’s delivered a special message to all employees. In it, he referred to the driver partners as the “heart and soul” of the organization. Drivers at Uber enjoy liberty and Uber no more abide by the antique clock policy of drivers and holding them for long. He accredits the successful voyage of five years to the contribution of drivers.
  4. Travis Kalanick investments: Kalanick has been an active angel investor. He has made 18 investments spread over 10 companies including Expensify, Livefyre, Crowdflower, and Formspring, and had 7 exits so far. Kalanick presented himself as a “fixer” of startup issues like interacting with investors and venture capitalists.
  5. How Travis Kalanick became Uber CEO: In March 2009, Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber, along with StumbleUpon co-founder Garrett Camp. Camp, a frequent visitor to Kalanick’s home, had become frustrated with taxi services in San Francisco, and discovered that it was difficult and expensive to hire drivers with upscale car services. He eventually developed the concept of a smartphone app that would allow users to directly hail luxury vehicles from their smartphones. He discussed the idea with Kalanick, but at that time Kalanick only agreed to serve as a “mega advisor” to this new startup, which was formerly known as UberCab. Since neither Camp nor Kalanick wanted to run the business directly, Ryan Graves was brought on as the company’s first CEO. However, after ten months, Kalanick took over as the CEO of Uber.
  6. Pileup of scandals: By 2014, Travis Kalanick’s reputation had started to suffer as a result of his brutal behaviour toward rivals, regulators, clients, employees, and Uber’s drivers. His reckless corporate spending became a hot topic. Employees at Uber were expected to work nights and even on weekends without any additional compensation. It was common practice to schedule conference calls at all hours of the night. As CEO, Kalanick had also tight control over the company’s board of directors.
  7. On 13 June 2017, Uber’s CEO took an indefinite leave from the company’s day-to-day operations. On 20 June 2017, Travis Kalanick stepped down as Uber CEO, after five investors, including one of the biggest shareholders, demanded an immediate resignation. On December 31, 2019, Kalanick stepped down from the board of directors at Uber Technologies. In the weeks preceding this announcement, Kalanick sold more than $2.5 billion worth of Uber stock, or more than 90% of his holdings.
  8. In 2022, he is ranked 1096 on Forbes’ list of the World’s Richest People.
  9. Travis Kalanick net worth stands at $2.8 billion as of August 2022.

The article is a part of the B’day Series where we celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from across Industries, very frequently. The series includes Entrepreneurs, C-level Executives, innovators or renewed leaders who moved the industry with their exponential skill set and vision. The intent is to highlight the person’s achievements and touch base the little known, but interesting, part of his life. You can see the list of all earlier celebrated tech personalities, including Mark Zuckerberg, Marrisa Mayor, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assange, by following this link or subscribe to your daily newsletter.

1 COMMENT

  1. Imagine all the people, driving or riding for Uber…..
    Then travis kalaDick shall run presidency for 2016.

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