The idea of a platform that provides essential services to the needy and reinvents them to become a reality is incredible. Selling being a primary goal as a young boy, Travis Cordell Kalanick excelled in selling knives door-to-door for the Cutco company. He loved math and devised simple ways to perform calculations in less time. These calculations and analyzes helped him understand commuter wait times for taxis in San Francisco. In order to solve this problem, he came up with the innovative concept of Uber, which is now the most popular ride-sharing startup in the world with a valuation of over $90 billion.
Date of Birth: August 6, 1976
Net value : $2.8 billion (as of August 2022)
Travis Kalanick, co-founder and former CEO of Uber, and co-founder of Red Swoosh, turns 45 today. To make this occasion memorable, this is a small effort to unveil some of the interesting but lesser known facts about Travis. Kalanick.
- Travis Kalanick’s first business: After dropping out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in 1998, he co-founded with classmates Scour Inc., a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a peer-to- peer. service. However, in September 2000, the company filed for bankruptcy.
- Failure never means the end, and with that motivation in 2001 Travis Kalanick co-founded Red Swoosh, along with Michael Todd. It was another peer-to-peer file sharing company. Interestingly, 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.
- Uber has adopted a unique culture of user reviews. While there are a number of early apps asking for customer feedback, this is a unique feature for drivers to rate customers. Lower rated customers are less preferred by drivers due to long wait. In honor of Uber’s fifth anniversary on June 3, 2015, co-founder Travis Kalanick’s sent a special message to all employees. In it, he called partner drivers the “heart and soul” of the organization. Uber drivers enjoy freedom and Uber no longer respects the antique clock policy of drivers and detains them for a long time. He attributes the successful five-year journey to the contribution of the pilots.
- Investments by Travis Kalanick: Kalanick has been an active angel investor. He has made 18 investments across 10 companies, including Expensify, Livefyre, Crowdflower and Formspring, and has had 7 exits so far. Kalanick billed himself as a “fixer” of startup issues like interacting with investors and venture capitalists.
- How Travis Kalanick became CEO of Uber: In March 2009, Travis Kalanick co-founded Uber, along with StumbleUpon co-founder Garrett Camp. Camp, a frequent visitor to Kalanick’s home, had grown frustrated with taxi services in San Francisco and found it difficult and expensive to hire drivers with high-end car services. He eventually developed the concept of a smartphone app that would allow users to hail luxury vehicles directly 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, formerly known as UberCab. Since neither Camp nor Kalanick wanted to run the company directly, Ryan Graves was named the company’s first CEO. However, after ten months, Kalanick took over as CEO of Uber.
- Accumulation of scandals: By 2014, Travis Kalanick’s reputation had begun to suffer due to his brutal behavior towards rivals, regulators, customers, employees and Uber drivers. His reckless business spending has become a hot topic. Uber employees had to work nights and even weekends without any additional pay. It was common to schedule conference calls at all hours of the night. As CEO, Kalanick also had tight control over the company’s board of directors.
- On June 13, 2017, Uber’s CEO took an indefinite leave from the company’s day-to-day operations. On June 20, 2017, Travis Kalanick resigned as CEO of Uber, after five investors, including one of the largest shareholders, demanded an immediate resignation. On December 31, 2019, Kalanick left the board of Uber Technologies. In the weeks leading up to that announcement, Kalanick sold more than $2.5 billion worth of Uber stock, or more than 90% of his holdings.
- In 2022, he is ranked 1096 on the Forbes list of the richest people in the world.
- Travis Kalanick’s net worth stands at $2.8 billion as of August 2022.
The article is part of B’day Series where we very frequently celebrate the birthday of renowned personalities from all industries. The series includes entrepreneurs, C-level executives, innovators or renewed leaders who have moved the industry with their exponential skills and vision. The intention is to highlight the person’s accomplishments and touch the little known, but interesting, part of their life. You can see the list of all famous tech personalities including Mark Zuckerberg, Mayor of Marrisa, Sean Parker, Andy Rubin, Julian Assangeby following this link or by subscribing to your daily newsletter.