Travis Kalanick – An ‘Uber-Cool’ Entrepreneur

Travis Kalanick – An ‘Uber-Cool’ Entrepreneur

Ever imagined that one day all your traveling-related problems would be solved in just a click? Well, Uber has made it possible with its remarkable services, providing an efficient, optimum, and hassle-free traveling experience to its customers.

There is no doubt saying that Uber’s incredible growth has made it one of the most fascinating companies to emerge over the past decade.

But what made Uber so successful? Today, we will talk about the origin of this ride giant and the man behind its unmatched success, Travis Kalanick.

Who is he?

Travis Kalanick is a successful American entrepreneur who co-founded the biggest ride-sharing company Uber. Born on August 6, 1976, Kalanick grew up in Northridge, California. He was always very competitive and passionate about his work. When Kalanick was a teenager, he used to sell knives door-to-door for a company named Cutco.

Well, Kalanick’s background is quite similar to the typical ‘Big tech CEO’ background. While he was studying computer engineering and business economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), he dropped out to work on a P2P search engine, Scour, with his classmates. However, issues with the lawsuits eventually led to the bankruptcy of the company and later complete shut-down.

The success you know, the story you don’t

It all started in 2008 when Travis Kalanick and his friend Garrett Camp were attending annual tech conference, LeWeb in Paris. Interestingly, The Economist describes it as “a place where the revolutionaries gather to plot their future.” Back in 2007, both the men had sold their start-ups for a hefty amount. While Kalanick sold Red Swoosh to Akamai Technologies for $19 million, Camp sold StumbleUpon to eBay for $75 million.

The idea of launching Uber was born one winter night when Kalanick and Camp were not able to get a cab. Both of them thought “What if you could request a ride from your phone”. However, the two friends didn’t take that idea seriously at that time and went their separate ways. It was in 2009, when Garrett Camp started working on the prototype of UberCab as his side project. Later that year, Camp had convinced Kalanick to join him as UberCab’s “chief incubator.” Apparently, the two guys first tested the services of their company in New York in early 2010, using only three cars. The official launch of Uber took place in San Francisco in May 2010.

Building Uber

The San Francisco-based startup gradually made a name for itself in the market and became one of the most popular companies in the world. The easy and simple way of booking a cab in just a tap of the button stimulated the Uber’s popularity among the masses. The company received its first major funding of whopping $1.25 million from First Round Capital. However, the things took a big turn for Uber in 2011 when it raised $11 million as a Series A funding by Benchmark. Soon after that, the company went on to expand its business in the cities like New York,  

Seattle, Chicago, Washington DC and in Paris.

In December 2011, at the LeWeb conference, Travis Kalanick announced that Uber raised $37 million from Series B funding by Menlo Ventures, Jeff Bezos, and Goldman Sachs.

Under the leadership of Kalanick, the company further launched Uber X in 2012. It provided a less expensive hybrid car as an alternative to black car services.

Secret behind Uber’s success It was Travis Kalanick’s relentless personality which pushed Uber to enter and thrive in city after city despite several obstacles in the way. The one thing which was constant in the entire journey of Uber’s success, was Kalanick’s “never give up” spirit. It is true that the company had dealt with several lawsuits, strikes and other challenges in the last few years but Travis knew how to tackle the critical situations and that’s what made Uber world’s biggest ride-sharing company.

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