Travis Kalanick is an American businessman who co-founded the rideshare company Uber with Garrett Camp in 2008. Kalanick served as CEO of the company between 2010 and 2017. Travis Kalanick is now CEO of CloudKitchens.
After dropping out of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Kalanick was part of a team that founded the multimedia search engine Scour and associated P2P file transfer service Scour Exchange.
Scour was one of the first platforms to enable users to share music and movies online.
Inevitably, however, it was sued for copyright infringement to the tune of $250 billion and forced to declare bankruptcy in 2000.
Kalanick founded another P2P fire-sharing company called Red Swoosh in 2001 which he dubbed his “revenge business” after the Scour lawsuit.
In essence, media companies would pay Red Swoosh to create legitimate music and video files for their customers with a particular focus on making large file transfers more efficient.
Since the dot-com bubble had just burst, Kalanick experienced cash flow problems early on and many employees were essentially working for free. The future of the company was uncertain until Mark Cuban invested $1.8 million in 2005.
Red Swoosh was then able to hire programmers and secured some high-profile corporate clients.
Kalanick later sold the company to Akamai Technologies in 2007 for around $18.7 million in stock.
Investment in start-ups
Kalanick then made several small investments in tech start-ups such as Expensify, Crowdflower, Formspring, and Livefyre.
He touted himself as the “fixer” of start-up problems and started to hold sessions in his apartment where young tech entrepreneurs could discuss ideas.
Some of the first such entrepreneurs were Gary Vaynerchuk and Aaron Levie, the co-founder of enterprise cloud company Box.
From a company that offered just three vehicles for hire, Kalanick was instrumental in expanding operations into 66 countries and more than 360 cities in around three years.
Under his leadership, the company successfully pivoted from premium black cars and limousines to more affordable vehicles like the Toyota Prius.
Over time, Kalanick’s aggressive and combative attitude toward key stakeholders started to impact his reputation.
After Uber’s board recommended that he resign, Kalanick stepped down and severed his last tie with the company in December 2019.
Kalanick announced in early 2018 that he would be launching a venture fund known as 10100 – pronounced ‘ten-one-hundred’.
The fund prefers to invest in Chinese and Indian eCommerce, real estate, and emerging tech companies.
Two notable investments include:
- $150 million in City Storage Systems (CSS), a firm that focuses on the redevelopment of distressed real estate, and
- $300 million in British start-up FoodStars, which Kalanick took a controlling interest in via ghost-kitchen management company and CSS subsidiary CloudKitchens.
Kalanick currently serves as the CEO of City Storage Systems.
- Travis Kalanick is an American businessman who co-founded the rideshare company Uber with Garrett Camp in 2008. Kalanick served as CEO of Uber between 2010 and 2017.
- Kalanick was part of a team that founded the multimedia search engine Scour and associated P2P file transfer service Scour Exchange. The company was made bankrupt by a copyright lawsuit in 2000, so Kalanick started a similar platform called Red Swoosh with a different business model.
- After selling Red Swoosh, Kalanick co-founded Uber and was instrumental in its early growth. But he was ultimately ousted for his adversarial approach in 2019 and moved back into the venture capital and start-up industries.
Read Next: Uber Business Model, CloudKitchens Business Model.