The Two Minute Bio: Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick, (born August 6, 1976, Los Angeles, California, U.S.), American entrepreneur who was cofounding CEO (2009–17) of the ride-hailing app company Uber, which provided transportation by enabling users to page freelance drivers of privately owned vehicles via smartphones.

Kalanick grew up in a suburb of Los Angeles. He was interested in computers from a young age and had learned to write computer code by the time he was in middle school. He studied computer engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), but he dropped out in 1998 to help launch the start-up company Scour, Inc., with several of his UCLA classmates. Scour, which offered an Internet search engine and file-sharing services, was one of the first dot-com companies to enable users to share movies and music online. Although its services quickly became popular, the company was sued for copyright infringement by both the recording and motion-picture industries. Scour eventually filed for bankruptcy in 2000 and later sold off all of its assets.

By 2001 Kalanick had rebounded from the bankruptcy by founding Red Swoosh, another firm that specialised in file-sharing technology. Red Swoosh won a number of prominent corporate clients, and Kalanick was able to sell the company in 2007 to Akamai Technologies for nearly $19 million. He was subsequently active as an “angel investor” (funding promising start-ups) before launching, with cofounder Garrett Camp, Uber in 2009; it was headquartered in San Francisco. From an initial operation that offered only three cars for hire, the company soon developed into a juggernaut, expanding to multiple overseas markets by 2012. Three years later Uber operated in 66 countries and more than 360 cities worldwide. As the company expanded, Kalanick developed a reputation for being both aggressive and combative.

Net Worth: 6.2b


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