Travis Kalanick: Co-Founder & Former CEO of Uber

Megha Rani Megha Rani
Jan 04, 2021 5 min read
Travis Kalanick: Co-Founder & Former CEO of Uber

Travis Kalanick is an American Businessman, who co-founded the ride sharing and food delivering company, Uber and served as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from 2010 to 2017. He is also the Co-founder of the multimedia internet search engine, Scour Incorporation. He also co-founded a peer-to-peer file sharing company, Red Swoosh. He is ranked 238th on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans with an estimated net worth of $3 billion, as of 2020.

The rise and fall of Uber's Former CEO, Travis Kalanick

Travis Kalanick- Biography

Name Travis Kalanick
Born 6 August, 1976
Birthplace Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Age 45 (2020)
Nationality American
Education University of California, Los Angeles
Profession Internet Entrepreneur
Position Co-founder of Uber; Co-founder of Red Swoosh
Net worth $3 billion (2020)
Political Party Libertarian
Father Donald Edward Kalanick
Mother Bonnie Renee Horowitz Kalanick

Travis Kalanick- Personal Life
Travis Kalanick- Education
Travis Kalanick- Professional Life
Travis Kalanick- Co-founder of Scour
Travis Kalanick- Co-founder of Red Swoosh
Travis Kalanick- Co-founder & CEO of Uber
Travis Kalanick- Business idea


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Travis Kalanick- Personal Life

Travis was raised in Northridge , California. His father Donald Edward Kalanick was a Civil Engineer for the city of Los Angeles. His mother, Bonnie Renee Horowitz Kalanick worked in retail advertising for the Los Angeles Daily News. His mother died in 2017 and he has two half-sisters, Anji and Allisyn Ashley Arm, who is a Hollywood actress. He has a brother named Cory, who is a firefighter.

Travis Kalanick- Education

Travis pursued computer engineering and business economics from the University of California, Los Angeles. He was a member of Theta Xi fraternity and founded his first business, Scout which was an online file-exchange startup. He dropped out from the University in 1998 to focus at his startup full-time.

Travis Kalanick- Professional Life

Travis, along with CEOs of major American companies, served as the Economic advisor to President Trump in 2016. However, he stepped down from the Council owing to the difference in opinions with the President Trump. During his tenure at Uber as CEO, it is believed that he knew about sexual harassment allegations at Uber and took no action against it. This is the reason, he was asked to give resignation from his CEO position at the company.

On 7 March, 2018, he declared that he would start a venture fund, 10100 (ten-one-hundred) with an aim to improve employment opportunities by investing in e-commerce, innovation and real estate in leading markets like, China and India. He then invested $150 million in a company called City Storage Systems, focused on the redevelopment of distressed real estate assets. He further capitalized on major food delivery sectors as well.

He serves on an advisory board for Neom, Saudi Arabia's plan to build an innovatory "mega city" in the desert. Β 


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Travis Kalanick- Co-founder of Scour

Travis dropped out of his university with his friend Michael Todd and Vince Busan to help Dan Rodrigues establish his startup, Scour Incorporation in 1998. It was basically a multimedia search engine. They also founded Scour Exchange, which was a peer-to-peer file sharing service. Β 

The company closed its services after the Motion Picture Association of Americs (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) proposed a $250 million lawsuit against Scour with copyright infringement allegations. However, Scour filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from the lawsuit in September 2000.

Travis Kalanick- Co-founder of Red Swoosh

Travis started another peer-to-peer file sharing company, Red Swoosh in 2001 with Michael Todd. The company worked on improving its software through increased bandwidth efficiency on the internet to let users transfer and trade large media files like, music files and videos.

The former Scour employees also served for Red Swoosh. Reportedly, Travis worked for Red Swoosh without salary for over three years. He owed "$110,00 to the IRS in un-withheld income taxes." It has been said that he committed tax and securities fraud and mendacity during the IRS investigation, blaming Michael Todd. However, either of them wasn't prosecuted.

Red Swoosh was acquired by Akamai Technologies in 2007 for $19 million but somehow facilitated securities fraud with Travis by failing to pay all shareholders.


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Travis Kalanick- Co-founder & CEO of Uber

Uber Logo

Travis became the CEO of Uber in October 2010, succeeding Ryan Graves, who held the CEO position for about ten months.

It has been announced that he would take an indefinite leave of absence from Uber. On 20 June, 2017, he resigned as CEO after five major investors demanded his resignation. Although he continued to sit on Uber's board of directors. However, Dara Khosrowshahi took his position of CEO in August 2017.

Travis resigned from the Board on 31 December, 2019. Post the resignation, he sold off more than $2.5 billion of Uber stock holding which included about 90% of his shares.

Travis Kalanick- Business idea

Travis deliberately credits Garnett Camp for inventing the idea that led to the establishment of Uber. He asserts that the idea was originated in 2009 by Garnett Camp, with whom Travis used to work. Camp is the co-founder of StumbleUpon, and he once spent $800 hiring a private driver with friends. Since then, he has been contemplating ways to decrease the cost of taxis. He then thought of sharing the cost with people to make it affordable and the idea eventually morphed into Uber.

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