Travis Kalanick

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Travis Kalanick
Travis Kalanick 2014.jpg
Kalanick in October 2014
Born Travis Cordell Kalanick
(1976-08-06) August 6, 1976 (age 40)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Residence San Francisco, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Alma mater University of California, Los Angeles
Occupation Entrepreneur
Known for Founder & CEO of Uber
Net worth Increase US$6.2 billion (August 2015)[1]
Parent(s) Bonnie Horwitz Kalanick
Donald Edward Kalanick

Travis Cordell Kalanick (born August 6, 1976) is an American entrepreneur. He is the co-founder of the peer-to-peer file sharing company Red Swoosh and the transportation network company Uber.

In 2014, he entered the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at position 290, with an estimated net worth of $6 billion.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Kalanick was born on August 6, 1976 in Los Angeles, California. He lived in Northridge, California, where he graduated from Granada Hills High School and later enrolled in college at the University of California, Los Angeles, to study computer engineering.[3][4][5] While at the University of California, Los Angeles he joined the Theta Xi Fraternity. His mother, Bonnie (Horwitz), worked in retail advertising for the Los Angeles Daily News, and his father, Donald E. Kalanick, was a civil engineer[6] for the city of Los Angeles.[7] His father's family is Catholic with Czech and Austrian roots.[8][9][10][11] His mother is Jewish.[12] He has two half-sisters and his brother Cory is a firefighter.[7][13]


Kalanick speaking at DLD 2015 in Munich, Germany
Kalanick speaking at the Le Web conference in December 2013


In 1998, Travis Kalanick, along with other classmates, dropped out of UCLA to help found Scour Inc. with Dan Rodrigues, a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a peer-to-peer file sharing service.[14][15] In 2000, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) brought a lawsuit against Scour, alleging copyright infringement.[16] In September of that year, Scour filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from the lawsuit.[17]

Red Swoosh[edit]

In 2001, with Scour's engineering team, Kalanick started a new company called Red Swoosh, another peer-to-peer file-sharing company. Red Swoosh software took advantage of increased bandwidth efficiency on the Internet to allow users to transfer and trade large media files, including music files and videos. In 2007, Akamai Technologies acquired the company for $19 million.[18][19][20][21]


In 2009, along with Garrett Camp, Kalanick founded Uber, a mobile application that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services.[22][23][24] Uber operates in 58 countries and in more than 400 cities around the world.[25][26][27] Uber faced some controversy[28] in some cities in North America,[29] like Washington D.C.,[30] Chicago,[31] Toronto,[32] and New York City.[33][34] The company faces fierce competition from similar services[35] and "clone companies"[36] in cities like London.[37][38] In November 2014, Kalanick faced criticism for creating a "win at all costs" culture in his Uber organization. Public relations problems the firm faced included Kalanick's comments to GQ about how easy it is for him to attract women now, concern about his blasé attitude regarding safety issues for female customers, and his tolerance of executive Emil Michael, who recommended creating a large budget to smear critics. Although Kalanick apologized for Michael's remarks, he did not censure him severely enough to appease some critics.[39]


He speaks at conferences and business events,[40] including TechCrunch Disrupt,[41] Tech Cocktail,[42] DLD, and LeWeb.[43][44][45][46]

Personal life[edit]

As of 2015, Kalanick is dating Gabi Holzwarth, whom he met at a party hosted by Shervin Pishevar.[47] Holzwarth is a violinist, Huffington Post writer, and has worked as a product intern at Shyp.[48][49] Holzwarth was discovered by Pishevar while she was playing the violin outside a Trader Joe's.[50] Holzwarth credits her relationship with Kalanick, and his very supportive nature, with saving her life as she battled with anxiety and eating disorders.[51] Holzwarth rose into the limelight when comedian T. J. Miller made disparaging jokes about her (including calling her a bitch) at the Crunchies Award ceremony in February 2015.[47][52][53]


  1. ^ Erik Sherman. "Travis Kalanick". Forbes. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  2. ^ Forbes Announces Its 33rd Annual Forbes 400 Ranking Of The Richest Americans; 29 September 2014,, accessed 12 November 2014
  3. ^ "Innovator Under 35: Travis Kalanick, 25 - MIT Technology Review". Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  4. ^ "Travis Kalanick - DCWEEK 2012". Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  5. ^ Inc Magazine: "Resistance Is Futile" BY Christine Lagorio-Chafkin July 2013
  6. ^ Guardian: "Travis Kalanick: Uber-capitalist who wants to have the world in the back of his cabs" by Andrew Anthony 20 December 2014
  7. ^ a b Independent Press-Telegram: "BETROTHALS TOLD" Long Beach, California · Page 118 · January 16, 1966 | Two engaged couples reveal wedding plans Veth-Kalanick . A spring wedding is being planned by Eileena Marie Veth and Donald Edward Kalanick whose betrothal news is being told by her parents, Mr. and Mrs.' Frank J. Zaffke of Long Beach: Mr. and Mrs. Michael A. Kalanick of Los Angeles are parents of the-future bridegroom. The bride-elect was grad- ualed from Jordan High School and LBCC. The future bridegroom attended Glendale Junior College, served two years in the U. S. Army and is now a civil engineering draftsman for the city of Los Angeles
  8. ^ "Obituary - Steve Kalanick". Havre Daily News. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  9. ^ "Michael Andrew Kalanick (1902 - 1981) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  10. ^ "John Kalanick (1898 - 1956) - Find A Grave Memorial". Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  11. ^ "Mike A Kalanick in the 1940 Census". Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  12. ^ "Jewish-Owned Uber Expelled from Spain". Jewish Business News. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  13. ^ "Alyson Shontell: All Hail The Uber Man! How Sharp-Elbowed Salesman Travis Kalanick Became Silicon Valley's Newest Star". Business Insider. January 11, 2014. 
  14. ^ Richtel, Matt (May 22, 2000). "Agent's Role In Music Site May Be Shift In Rights War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  15. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Travis Kalanick: The Transportation Trustbuster" by Andy Kessler January 25, 2013
  16. ^ Richtel, Matt (July 21, 2000). "Movie and Record Companies Sue a Film Trading Site". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  17. ^ Borland, John (September 7, 2000). "Well-scrubbed business plan not enough for Scour". CNET. Retrieved 2008-08-22. 
  18. ^ "Payday for Red Swoosh: $15 million from Akamai". TechCrunch. 
  19. ^ "April 12, 2007 - Akamai Acquires Red Swoosh". 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  20. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Failure and Red Swoosh - Liz Gannes - News". AllThingsD. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  21. ^ Om Malik. "Gigaom - Akamai goes P2P, buys Red Swoosh". Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  22. ^ Goode, Lauren (June 17, 2011). "Worth It? An App to Get a Cab". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company. 
  23. ^ "Travis Kalanick on Leading Uber, a Car Service". Businessweek. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  24. ^ "Travis Kalanick : Startup Mixology Conference – D.C. – June 16, 2011". 2011-06-16. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  25. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick". SPLASH. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  26. ^ "Uber Tests Cash Payment in Hyderabad; Other Cities to Follow Soon". Tech-Portal. 
  27. ^ "Where is Uber Currently Available?". Retrieved May 26, 2015. 
  28. ^ Mangalindan, JP (February 2, 2012). "The trials of Uber". 
  29. ^ John Cook. "Uber could take flight, CEO dreams of helicopter and jet rides". GeekWire. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  30. ^ "". Fortune. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  31. ^ "Under new rules, Uber faces Chicago closure". VentureBeat. 
  32. ^ Christine Dobby (December 6, 2012). "Uber Toronto facing new licensing charges related to taxi business". Financial Post. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  33. ^ "App-Powered Car Service Leaves Cabs in the Dust". WIRED. April 5, 2011. Retrieved April 22, 2016. 
  34. ^ D.C. official retreats on fare measure aimed at San Francisco limo firm - San Francisco Business Times
  35. ^ "Uber CEO: Bring On The Cheap Competition". Business Insider. 
  36. ^ "Look Out, Lyft: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Says It Will Do Ride Sharing, Too". TechCrunch. 
  37. ^ Adrian Melrose. "Taxi Tech at Le Web London". Archived from the original on May 19, 2014. 
  38. ^ "LeWeb London: Uber and Hailo". Licence to Roam. 
  39. ^ "Holson, Laura M. (Nov 21, 2014) To Delete or Not to Delete: That’s the Uber Question"
  40. ^ "Travis Kalanick | Chicago Ideas Week". Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  41. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Is Going To Keep Up The Disruption At Disrupt SF". 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2013-06-30. 
  42. ^ TechCocktail (2010-11-12). "'Hustle Is The Antidote' When Starting And Running A Business « Tech Cocktail". Retrieved 2013-01-25. 
  43. ^ "LeWeb'11". Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  44. ^ "Big Omaha - Travis Kalanick: 'Whatever it is that you're afraid of, go after it'". Silicon Prairie News. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  45. ^ Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 (2012-09-12). "CEO Travis Kalanick Says UberX Numbers Are "Probably At Or Above" Lyft". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  46. ^ "LeWeb 2010 – Money Roundtable, Moderated by Travis Kalanick, Entrepreneur & Angel Investor. | Startup Angel". 2011-06-21. Retrieved 2013-01-17. 
  47. ^ a b Zennie, Michael. "Comedian who called Uber CEO's girlfriend a 'b****' and made 'racist' remark at 'Silicon Valley' awards show faces angry backlash". Daily Mail. 
  48. ^ "Gabi Holzwarth". Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  49. ^ "Gabi Holzwarth". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  50. ^ Bowles, Nellie (May 28, 2014). "Playing "Billionaire" for the Billionaires: A Violinist's Ironic Wink". Re/code. Retrieved July 18, 2015. 
  51. ^ Bort, Julie (February 10, 2015). "How Uber CEO Travis Kalanick helped save his girlfriend's life". Business Insider. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  52. ^ Smith, Dave (February 10, 2015). "Travis Kalanick's girlfriend: 'Did you just call me a b---h?'". Business Insider. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  53. ^ Tiku, Nitasha (February 9, 2015). "Sexism and consequences at TechCrunch's annual award show. An AOL executive apologizes for the host's offensive remarks, but what about the rest of the bullshit?". The Verge. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 

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