Travis Kalanick uber

Uber Startup Story – with founder Travis Kalanick

UBER Startup Story - Travis Kalanick

Inside Story of UBER CEO – Travis Kalanick


Travis Cordell Kalanick was born on August 26, 1976, in Northridge, California, a suburb outside Los Angeles.

He wanted to be a spy, when he was lad. He sold Cutco knives as door-to-door salesman, in his teenage.

“Traits of a sapling can be seen in the seed itself”. As in the above statement, Kalanick started his first business, an SAT-prep tutoring service called New Way Academy, at age 18.

He went to UCLA (University of California), studied computer engineering and joined the Computer Science Undergraduate Association, where he got friendship of Michael Todd and Vince Busam.

In 1998, He dropped out of college to found Scour, a peer-to-peer search engine, with his classmates Michael Todd and Vince Busam.

In 2000, 30 media companies sued Scour for $250 billion for copyright infringement. Scour settled and eventually sold its assets.

In 2001, with Scour’s engineering team, Kalanick founded a networking software company Red Swoosh, which delivers web content to users more cheaply by allowing them to share bandwidth.

He faced tougher challenges as the company was out of cash and couldn’t cover payroll for its seven employees, by August 2001. Also he got a clash with co-founder Todd for not withholding income taxes from employees’ paychecks, which is a white-collar crime.

In 2007, Red Swoosh was acquired by Akamai Technologies for $23 million — $19 million in stock and $4 million in earn-outs which eventually made Kalanick a Millionaire.

In 2008, He attended the LeWeb conference in Paris, with Garrett Camp (Founder of Stumbleupon and later sold it to eBay for $75 Million)

Jamming on ideas, rapping on what’s next is what entrepreneurs do. Kalanick heard about the Camp’s simple premise of a revolutionary new app – ‘Press a Button and Get a Cab’

Camp was obsessed over the concept of a car service and made this simple thesis contort into UberCab App. Kalanick gives Camp full credit for the idea.

In 2009, Garrett Camp, Oscar Salazar, and Conrad Whelan built the prototype of Uber, a black-car service called UberCab. Kalanick served as a “mega adviser”, though he’s previously said his title then was “chief incubator”.

Early in 2010, Kalanick and Camp wanted Uber to exist, but neither of them wanted to run it, as they don’t want to run a limo company. That’s where Ryan Graves came in as General Manager and soon became CEO.

In June 2010, Uber’s services and mobile app officially launched in San Francisco and it was big hit in San Francisco. Uber raised money from investors: a $1.25 million seed round from First Round Capital, Kalanick’s friend Chris Sacca, and Napster cofounder Shawn Fanning.

In December 2010, Kalanick became CEO, and Graves became Uber’s general manager again. According to both, the rearrangement was friendly.

In May 2011, Uber launched in New York City — and now, New York is one of Uber’s biggest markets.

In October 2011, the company got a cease-and-desist order from the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency and the California Public Utilities Commission, for using “cab” in UberCab’s name, since it was operating without a taxi license. The start-up just ignored the order and simply changed UberCab to Uber, buying the domain name from Universal Music Group.

In December 2011, Uber was launched in Paris, its first non-US city. Uber was very aggressive in its expansion and wasn’t afraid to take risks which made its name known internationally.

In 2012, Uber announced low-cost UberX that gave week worth of Uber free rides or a day of free rides.

In 2012, New York’s TLC (Taxi and Limousine Commission) put up obstacles and roadblocks in order to squash the effort around Uber’s e-hail service for yellow cab and that was a predicament for Uber to satisfy customer needs. So Kalanick snarled publicly after Chhabra’s TLC.

Some companies like Lyft gives a tough competition for Uber. In 2013, Kalanick got into a Twitter battle with Lyft CEO John Zimmer over insurance policies. The conversation ended with Kalanick calling Zimmer’s company a “clone”.

The acquaintance of Kalanick’s would say “At times, Kalanick is so heedless and arrogant, and that is the reason for Uber’s success”.

Though Uber faced competition from companies like Lyft and Sidecar, it managed to bring as many as 58 countries under its fold, by ignoring pre-existing laws and shrugging off the fury of taxi companies.

In April 2014, Uber was banned by the government in Berlin, although the company remains active in other German cities. Taxi drivers in London, Berlin, Paris and Madrid staged a large-scale protest against Uber on June 11, 2014.

In essence, As Uber grew internationally, it began to experience disputes with governments and taxi companies in those regions.

In 2014, as the company grew up very fast and became one of the leading transportation services in the world, Uber started its Product expansion. Uber launched UberPOOL, Uber Rush, Uber Essentials, UberFRESH (Renamed as UberEATS in 2015)

Uber hired former Barack Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, as a lobbyist. David expanded the company by engaging in a political campaign which mobilizes public support for the service.

In December, the Chinese search engine Baidu invested in Uber, a partnership that would theoretically allow Uber to expand throughout mainland Asia.

Uber has raised $5.9 billion at a $41 billion valuation. The company’s recent valuation made Kalanick a multibillionaire.

As of now, Uber is facing challenges in countries like Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, and Spain due to protests by Taxi drivers and the complaints given by the customers.

Though Kalanick faced lots of failures and oppositions, he treated the challenges as opportunities to learn and grow which eventually made his company to win the top.

With the service available in 58 countries and 300 cities worldwide, the present day valuation of the company is close to a whopping $ 50 billion.


Post Author: Geetha Viswanathan

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