Travis Kalanick

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Travis Kalanick
Kalanick at GES 2016.jpg
Kalanick at Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016
Travis Cordell Kalanick

(1976-08-06) August 6, 1976 (age 42)
ResidenceSan Francisco, California, U.S.
EducationUniversity of California, Los Angeles (withdrew)
OccupationInternet entrepreneur
Known forCo-founder of Red Swoosh and Uber
Net worthIncrease 5.9 billion[1]
Partner(s)Angie You
Gabi Holzwarth (2014–2016)
RelativesAllisyn Ashley Arm (half-niece)

Travis Cordell Kalanick (/ˈkælənɪk/; born August 6, 1976) is an American billionaire businessman. He is the co-founder of Scour, a peer to peer file sharing application, Red Swoosh, a peer-to-peer content delivery network, and Uber, a transportation network company. Red Swoosh was sold to Akamai Technologies in 2007.[3] Kalanick resigned from Uber in 2017 after controversy over the company's supposedly unethical culture, including allegations that he ignored reports of sexual harassment at the company. He remains a shareholder and board-member.[4]

Kalanick is ranked 115th on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $5.9 billion.[1]

Early life and education[edit]


Kalanick was born on August 6, 1976 and grew up in Northridge, California.[5] Kalanick's parents are Bonnie Renée Horowitz Kalanick (née Bloom) (died 2017) and Donald Edward Kalanick. Bonnie, who was Jewish,[6][7] worked in retail advertising for the Los Angeles Daily News.[8] Donald, from a Slovakian-Austrian Catholic family whose grandparents immigrated to the United States,[9][6][10][7] was a civil engineer[8] for the city of Los Angeles.[11] Kalanick has two half-sisters, one of whom is actress Allisyn Ashley Arm's mother Anji, and a brother, Cory, who is a firefighter.[11][12]


Kalanick studied computer engineering and business economics at the University of California, Los Angeles.[5][13][14] While studying at UCLA, Kalanick was a member of Theta Xi fraternity and started his first business, an online file-exchange service called Scour. In 1998, he dropped out of UCLA to work at the start-up full-time.[15]


Kalanick speaking at the LeWeb conference in December 2013

Scour (1998–2000)[edit]

In 1998, Kalanick, along with Michael Todd and Vince Busam, dropped out of UCLA to help Dan Rodrigues found Scour Inc., a multimedia search engine, and Scour Exchange, a peer-to-peer file sharing service.[16][17] In 2000, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) brought a $250 billion[18] lawsuit against Scour, alleging copyright infringement.[19] In September 2000, Scour filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from the lawsuit.[20]

Red Swoosh (2001–2007)[edit]

In 2001, with Michael Todd, Kalanick started a new company called Red Swoosh, another peer-to-peer file-sharing company.[21] 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. The company also received help from former Scour employees.[citation needed]

Kalanick has an archived blog, Swooshing, where he shares struggles during this time. This included living over 3 years without a salary,[22][23][24] moving into his parents' house in 2001 (which he told the Failcon 2011 audience and commented that he "wasn't getting ladies. It sucked."), owing "$110,000 to the IRS in un-withheld income taxes, which is a white-collar crime that pierces the corporate shell, and it doesn't matter whether you knew or not. If you're an officer of the company you're going to jail," witnessing "all but one of the company's engineers" leaving (who eventually also departed), and moving to Thailand as a cost-saving measure.[18] Kalanick committed tax fraud and perjury during the IRS investigation, blaming his partner Michael Todd, but was never prosecuted.[25] In 2007 Akamai Technologies acquired the company for $19 million.[26][27][28][29]

Uber (2009–2017)[edit]

In 2009, Kalanick joined Garrett Camp and gives him "credit for the original idea"[18][30] of Uber.[31][32][33] Camp, co-founder of StumbleUpon, spent $800 hiring a private driver with friends and had been mulling over ways to decrease the cost of black car services (meaning, taxis that are dispatched by a central service rather than hailed directly on the street) ever since. He realized that sharing the cost with people could make it affordable, and his idea morphed into Uber.[18] "Garrett is the guy who invented that shit", Kalanick said at an early Uber event in San Francisco.[18][30] The first prototype was built by Camp, and his friends, Oscar Salazar and Conrad Whelan, with Kalanick being brought on as a "mega advisor" to the company.[18] In October 2010, Kalanick succeeded Ryan Graves as CEO,[18] who had held the position for ten months.[34]

On June 13, 2017, it was announced that Kalanick would take an indefinite leave of absence from Uber. His responsibilities would be assumed by his direct reports in the organization.[35][36]

On June 20, 2017, Kalanick resigned as CEO after Benchmark Capital reportedly demanded his resignation only days after his mother's death in a boating accident.[37] Despite his resignation, Kalanick will retain his seat on Uber's board of directors.[4] Dara Khosrowshahi took his position of CEO in August 2017.[38]

Economic Advisor to President Trump[edit]

Despite CTO Thuan Pham's 2016 internal email to employees commenting, "I will not even utter the name of this deplorable person because I do not accept him as my leader" on the election of U.S. President Donald Trump, which was widely circulated and published by the media,[39][40] in December 2016, it was announced that Kalanick joined other CEOs, including Tesla CEO Elon Musk, JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Disney CEO Bob Iger, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon, and former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, as an economic advisor on Trump's Strategy and Policy Forum,[41] organized by Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman.[42] Kalanick vocally opposed President Trump's executive order banning travel from select countries and believed that remaining on Trump's advisory council would provide him with the opportunity to directly address his concerns with the President and advocate for immigrants. In an Uber blog post, Kalanick stated that he wanted to use his position on the council to "give citizens a voice, a seat at the table."[43] However, after continued pressure, Kalanick announced in an email to Uber employees that he would step down from the council.[44]

Criticism of Kalanick's behavior at Uber[edit]

In 2017, it was reported that Kalanick had knowledge of sexual harassment allegations at Uber and did nothing.[45] In the same week, he asked his direct report,[46] Uber's SVP of Engineering Amit Singhal, to resign after a month for failing to disclose a sexual harassment claim during Singhal's 15 years as VP of Google Search, after Recode reported about it in media.[47][48][49] According to Reuters, he has "a reputation as an abrasive leader".[50][51]

In February 2017, a video was released where Kalanick was shimmying between two women in an UberBLACK, before arguing with an Uber driver during a heated debate in which he berated the driver.[52][53][54]

In March 2017, Uber VP of Business, Emil Michael contacted Kalanick's ex-girlfriend in an attempt to silence her into hiding an HR complaint. This backfired, with her speaking to The Information as a source present during an executive team outing with Kalanick, where Michael and four more Uber managers selected numbered women at a Korean escort bar, prompting a complaint one year later, by the female manager who attended.[55][56] She also has since spoken to Businessweek about Uber's India rape case.[57]

On June 21, 2017, he stepped down as the CEO of Uber because of the pressure from a majority of the investors as he was seen as a liability but will continue to stay on the company's board.[58]

Benchmark controversy[edit]

On August 10, 2017, Axios reported that Benchmark is suing Kalanick for "fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty." The suit is based on Uber's decision to expand the number of board seats, with Benchmark arguing the decision is invalid due to withholding of material information prior to the vote.[59] The lawsuit was very controversial in Silicon Valley because of the relationship between the founder and the investor.[60] The court ruled in the favor of Kalanick to move the case to arbitration on August 30.[61] In response to the court ruling Kalanick released a public statement:

Pleased that the court has ruled in his favor today and remains confident that he will prevail in the arbitration process. Benchmark's false allegations are wholly without merit and have unnecessarily harmed Uber and its shareholders.[61]

In January 2018, Benchmark's dropped the lawsuit against Kalanick. The investment firm agreed to drop the lawsuit if Uber completed its transaction with Softbank, a prior condition Benchmark had agreed to. Completed in early January, Uber agreed to sell a sizable stake to SoftBank.[62] The share purchase valued Uber at $48 billion.[63]

10100 (2018–Present)[edit]

On March 7, 2018, Travis announced via his Twitter account that he would start a venture fund, 10100 (pronounced 'ten-one-hundred'), focused on job growth.[64] The fund is likely named after the address of his childhood home. The fund is going to tackle large scale employment opportunities by investing in e-commerce, innovation and real estate in emerging markets like China and India.[65]

Kalanick serves on an advisory board for Neom, Saudi Arabia’s plan to build a futuristic "mega city" in the desert.[66][67]

Personal life[edit]

Kalanick and Angie You, his then-longtime girlfriend, bought a townhouse in the upper hills of San Francisco's Castro neighborhood, which was nicknamed "the Jam Pad" and had its own Twitter account.[68]


  1. ^ a b "Forbes: Travis Kalanick". Forbes.
  2. ^ Isaac, Mike (April 23, 2017). "Uber's C.E.O. Plays With Fire". The New York Times.
  3. ^ Arrington, Michael. "Payday for Red Swoosh: $15 million from Akamai". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  4. ^ a b "Travis Kalanick resigns as Uber CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  5. ^ a b Lagorio-Chafkin, Christine (July 2013). "Resistance Is Futile". Inc.
  6. ^ a b Kalanick-Larson, Brooke (November 21, 2011). "Lessons From My Grandma On Love, Life & Hard Work". Better By Dr. Brooke.
  7. ^ a b "Mike A Kalanick in the 1940 Census". Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  8. ^ a b Anthony, Andrew (20 December 2014). "Travis Kalanick: Uber-capitalist who wants to have the world in the back of his cabs". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "Zakladatel Uberu ma Sloveske korene" (in Slovak). Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "Obituary – Steve Kalanick". Havre Daily News. April 3, 2015.
  11. ^ a b Independent Press-Telegram: "BETROTHALS TOLD". Long Beach, California · Page 118 · January 16, 1966
  12. ^ "Alyson Shontell: All Hail The Uber Man! How Sharp-Elbowed Salesman Travis Kalanick Became Silicon Valley's Newest Star". Business Insider. January 11, 2014.
  13. ^ "Innovator Under 35: Travis Kalanick, 25 – MIT Technology Review". Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  14. ^ "Travis Kalanick – DCWEEK 2012". Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  15. ^ "Travis Kalanick". Forbes. Retrieved 2017-07-25.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Wall Street Journal: "Travis Kalanick: The Transportation Trustbuster" by Andy Kessler January 25, 2013
  18. ^ a b c d e f g Shontell, Alyson (January 11, 2014). "All Hail The Uber Man! How Sharp-Elbowed Salesman Travis Kalanick Became Silicon Valley's Newest Star". Business Insider.
  19. ^ Richtel, Matt (July 21, 2000). "Movie and Record Companies Sue a Film Trading Site". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  20. ^ Borland, John (September 7, 2000). "Well-scrubbed business plan not enough for Scour". CNET. Retrieved 2008-08-22.
  21. ^ "The life and rise of Travis Kalanick, Uber's controversial billionaire CEO". Business Insider. Retrieved 2017-12-09.
  22. ^ "The Ultimate Guide to Hacking CES". Swooshing, Travis Kalanick's (Archived) Blog. December 30, 2008.
  23. ^ "Tweet from @TravisK Verified Twitter". @TravisK Verified Twitter.
  24. ^ "Tweet from @TravisK Verified Twitter". @TravisK Verified Twitter.
  25. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Uber's C.E.O. Plays With Fire". New York Times.
  26. ^ "Payday for Red Swoosh: $15 million from Akamai". TechCrunch.
  27. ^ "April 12, 2007 – Akamai Acquires Red Swoosh". 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  28. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick on Failure and Red Swoosh – Liz Gannes – News". AllThingsD. 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  29. ^ Om Malik. "Gigaom – Akamai goes P2P, buys Red Swoosh". Retrieved April 22, 2016.
  30. ^ a b "Uber Event, SF Video (00:01:45)". Uber. 2011.
  31. ^ Goode, Lauren (June 17, 2011). "Worth It? An App to Get a Cab". The Wall Street Journal. Dow Jones & Company.
  32. ^ "Travis Kalanick on Leading Uber, a Car Service". Businessweek. 2012-08-09. Retrieved 2013-01-17.
  33. ^ "Travis Kalanick : Startup Mixology Conference – D.C. – June 16, 2011". June 16, 2011. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 17, 2013.
  34. ^ "Ryan Graves – LinkedIn". Retrieved 2 June 2016.
  35. ^ Wong, Julia Carrie (13 Jun 2017). "Embattled Uber CEO Travis Kalanick takes indefinite leave of absence". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  36. ^ Bensinger, Greg (13 Jun 2017). "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick to take a leave of absence". MarketWatch. Retrieved 13 June 2017.
  37. ^ Isaac, Mike (21 Jun 2017). "Uber Founder Travis Kalanick Resigns as C.E.O." The New York Times. Retrieved 21 Jun 2017.
  38. ^ "Five things you didn't know about Uber's new CEO". Retrieved 2018-01-28.
  39. ^ Carson, Biz (January 24, 2017). "'I do not accept him as my leader' — Uber CTO's explosive anti-Trump email reveals growing internal tensions". Business Insider.
  40. ^ Taylor, Harriet (January 25, 2017). "Uber CTO calls Trump a 'deplorable person' in staff email, says report". CNBC.
  41. ^ Milliken, Grennan (2016-12-14). "Trump Critic Elon Musk Chosen for Presidential Advisory Team". Motherboard. Vice Media LLC. Retrieved 2016-12-15.
  42. ^ Molina, Brett (December 14, 2016). "Elon Musk, Uber's Kalanick join Trump's business adviser team". Democrat and Chronicle.
  43. ^ Kalanick, Travis (January 28, 2017). "Standing up for what's right". Uber.
  44. ^ Isaac, Mike (February 2, 2017). "Uber C.E.O. to Leave Trump Advisory Council After Criticism". The New York Times.
  45. ^ Isaac, Mike (February 22, 2017). "Inside Uber's Aggressive, Unrestrained Workplace Culture". The New York Times.
  46. ^ Townsend, Tess (January 20, 2017). "Uber has hired two significant Google veterans". Recode.
  47. ^ Marinova, Polina (February 27, 2017). "Uber Exec Resigns After Sexual Harassment Allegations Surface From His Time at Google". Fortune.
  48. ^ Isaac, Mike (February 27, 2017). "Amit Singhal, Uber Executive Linked to Old Harassment Claim, Resigns". New York Times.
  49. ^ Swisher, Kara (February 27, 2017). "Uber's SVP of engineering is out after he did not disclose he left Google in a dispute over a sexual harassment allegation". Recode.
  50. ^ "Uber board to discuss CEO absence, policy changes: source". Reuters. 2017-06-11. Retrieved 2017-06-11. Kalanick has developed a reputation as an abrasive leader, and his approach has rubbed off on his company. The 40-year-old executive was captured on video in February berating an Uber driver.
  51. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick resigns under investor pressure". Reuters. 2017-06-21. Retrieved 2017-06-21.
  52. ^ "Uber CEO Travis Kalanick: I need to 'grow up'". CNN. 1 March 2017.
  53. ^ Bloomberg (February 28, 2017). "Uber CEO Kalanick Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares" – via YouTube.
  54. ^ Newcomer, Eric (February 28, 2017). "In Video, Uber CEO Argues With Driver Over Falling Fares". Businessweek.
  55. ^ Efrati, Amir (March 25, 2017). "Uber Group's Visit to Seoul Escort Bar Sparked HR Complaint". The Information.
  56. ^ Lawler, Richard (March 25, 2017). "Uber CEO linked to escort bar visit that resulted in an HR complaint". Engadget.
  57. ^ Newcomer, Eric (June 7, 2017). "Uber Workplace Probe Extends to Handling of India Rape Case". Businessweek.
  58. ^ "Travis Kalanick: Uber CEO resigns following months of chaos". The Guardian. 21 June 2017.
  59. ^ "Scoop: Benchmark Capital sues Travis Kalanick for fraud". Axios. 2017-08-10. Retrieved 2017-08-10.
  60. ^ Roof, Katie (2018-01-25). "Benchmark's lawsuit against former Uber CEO Kalanick dismissed". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  61. ^ a b Roof, Katie (2017-08-30). "Benchmark-Kalanick Uber board suit sent to arbitration". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  62. ^ "Uber Investors Agree to Sell Stake in SoftBank Deal". 2017-12-28. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  63. ^ Carson, Biz. "It's Official: SoftBank Closes Multibillion-Dollar Deal In Uber". Forbes. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  64. ^
  65. ^ Aiello, Chloe (2018-03-07). "Ousted Uber CEO Travis Kalanick announces comeback with new job-creation fund". CNBC. Retrieved 2018-03-08.
  66. ^ "Top tech execs will help Saudi Arabia build its mega city of the future". CNN. October 11, 2018.
  67. ^ "Some Silicon Valley Superstars Ditch Saudi Advisory Board After Khashoggi Disappearance, Some Stay Silent". The Intercept. October 12, 2018.
  68. ^ Isaac, Mike. "Uber C.E.O. Plays With Fires". New York Times. Retrieved April 23, 2017.

External links[edit]