Travis Kalanick is the founder of the digital transportation company, Uber. Travis along with his partner and co founder Garrett Camp, founded the company in March 2009. Garrett Camp is also the founder of popular online discovery platform, StumbleUpon. Kalanick himself has co-founded various companies prior to Uber, they were, file-sharing companies called RedSwoosh and Scour. Scour Inc went bankrupt while RedSwoosh was acquired by Akamai technologies.
Kalanick didn’t hit it large with two out of his three of his three start-ups. However, all of that changed when he co-founded a company called Uber. It went on to become the largest digital transportation company in the world and one of largest companies in the United States. Uber is currently valued at over $68 billion and has operations in over 536 cities across the world.1 Travis Kalanick roughly owns 10% of Uber, taking his personal valuation to around $6.3 – $6.8 billion dollars.
What is Uber and how does it work
We’ve already lightly covered what Uber is, let’s now dive into some more detail about the company; its operations, revenue and overall vision. Uber is a digital transportation company with the aim of making taxi travel fast, secure and seamless. To use Uber, all you need is a smart-phone and an active data connection.
Users would need to download the Uber mobile application through the IOS or Android marketplace and start booking taxis through the app. The application has the ability to link to a user’s credit / debit card and auto-debit after a completed ride. It also provides the option of cash payments, where the user can make payments using cash.
Uber makes its revenue through a commission based model. If a user books a taxi, Uber gets 20% of the fare revenue, the rest it given to the driver of the vehicle. This revenue model has worked well for the company, it’s revenue hit $1.5 billion in 2015.2 In 2016, Uber’s revenue in India skyrocketed an impressive 442%.3 The company also follows the practice of giving a free complimentary Uber ride to first time customers, with the aim of onboarding new customers.
As of 2016, Travis Kalanick’s Uber is valued at over $68 billion.4 This valuation is based on various rounds of funding the company received over the years. Mentioned below is Uber’s valuation history among the years:
- Valued at $60 million in early 2011
- Uber ends 2011 with a valuation of $330 million
- The digital transportation company is valued at over $3 billion in 2013
- Uber raises a further $1.2 billion in 2014, valuations hit over $17 billion
- The company further raises another round of funding in 2014, valuing it at $40 billion
- In 2016, Uber raised a whopping $3.5 billion through Saudi Sovereign Wealth Fund, valuing it at over $62 billion
As Uber’s valuation grew over the years, so did Kalanick’s.
- 21% of android users in the United States have the Uber application installed on their mobile device.5
- Uber has a market share of over 85% in the United States of america.
- The company has over 6000 employees and an estimated 600,000 – 1 million drivers globally.
- In 2014, Travis Kalanick said that the company was onboarding 50,000 Uber drivers a month. 6
- Uber currently operates in 536 cities globally
- It hit the 2 billion total rides taken mark in 2016
The vision of the company and Kalanick himself was shared at Uber’s 5th anniversary. Kalanick has the bold ultimate goal of making Uber an alternative to all forms of public transportation, more so, he has the vision of making it an alternative to owning a vehicle itself.
Post President Trump’s travel ban on seven Muslim nations, in 2017, there was a large protest at the John F Kennedy International Airport undertaken by protesters. This protest was further solidified by the New York Taxi Alliance by denying service near the airport for an hour. Uber allegedly took advantage of the situation by switching-off their surge pricing module to increase rides. This move was met with widespread criticism of the company and the hashtag #DeleteUber started trending on social media, prompting users to boycott the service and delete the application.
Kalanick’s personal investments
Kalanick has made personal investments in the following companies:7
- Kareo, a SaaS medical start-up
- CrowdFlower Inc, an artificial intelligence and machine learning company
- Livefyre, a technology company, later acquired by Adobe
- Expensify, a San Franciso based expense management company
- Formspring, a social networking company
- Blippy Social Commerce, a social commerce platform, among others
Among Donald Trump’s team of advisers
Travis Kalanick was among 20 other corporate leaders advising President Donald Trump regarding economics, business and other related policies. The advisory board comprises of business leaders like Elon Musk, Indra Nooyi, Stephen A. Schwarzman, Mary Barra, Jim McNerney, Ginni Rometty, Mark Weinberger, Bob Iger, among others.
- “This is our ultimate vision of the future,Smarter transportation with fewer cars and greater access.” – Travis Kalanick
- “Uber is efficiency with elegance on top. That’s why I buy an iPhone instead of an average cell phone, why I go to a nice restaurant and pay a little bit more. It’s for the experience.” – Travis Kalanick