Technology has spearheaded some of the greatest inventions especially in the past decade. Among the most gradual and impressive advancement is in the field of communication. Smartphones have become an integral part of today’s world and it is difficult to imagine life without them. We depend on our phones for various functions such as making calls, taking photos, keeping time, taking notes and keeping up with our loved ones on social media among others. The last decade has also seen new inventions crop up in the tech circles in Silicon Valley including cryptocurrencies such as the Bitcoin, and ride-hailing apps such as Uber. Cryptocurrency has enabled people to move money easily online and engage in a more secure line of trade. Uber, on the other hand, has provided much-needed access to quick transport. Now you don’t need to walk outside for you to be able to get a taxi, you can just order one from the comfort of your own home and you will get a tailored ride from your house or pick up area to your destination. The man behind the now-famous Uber app is none other than Travis Kalanick. As of 2020,Kalanick's estimated net worth is approximately $2.6 billion. This piece details how the business mogul has managed to amass such wealth and become the billionaire that he is today.
Who is Travis Kalanick?
Travis Kalanick was born on 6th august 1976 to the late Bonnie Renee Horowitz Kalanick and Donald Edward Kalanick and was raised in Northridge California. Kalanick’s mother is Jewish and worked for the LA Daily News as a retail advertiser. His father Donald whose grandparents were immigrants is a Slovak Austrian Catholic who worked as a civil engineer.
Travis Kalanick went to the University of California in Los Angeles to study computer engineering and business economics. While at UCLA, Kalanick started his first online business called Scour which was a file-exchange service. He eventually dropped out of college in 1998 to pursue his venture on a full-time basis. He alongside Vince Busam and Michael Todd ran Scour but their joy was short-lived after various entertainment companies slapped the trio with a $250 billion lawsuit citing copyright infringement. To shelter themselves from the lawsuit, the company filed for bankruptcy in late 2000. Kalanick and Todd devised another app called Red Swoosh which was also a peer to peer online file-exchange service in 2001. During this time, the internet had begun evolving and expanding its bandwidths.
Red Swoosh took advantage of that and the duo was aided with some of the former employees at Scour. Red swoosh ran on angel funding from Kalanick’s partner's parents and relatives. He has since shared in his blog that this time saw him get so broke that he had to move back in with his parents and had sunk in to so much debt including owing the IRS a lot of money. Red Swoosh was bought by Akamai Technologies in 2007 for an impressive $19 million. Fast forward to 2009 and Kalanick once again decided to start up a taxi-hailing app called Uber. Together with Garrett Camp, he sought to decrease the cost of hiring a private driver for black car services. Kalanick has always credited his co-founder Garrett Camp with the Uber idea. He has since resigned from the Uber technologies board of directors and sold off about 90% of his shares on the company.
So how did Travis Kalanick make his millions?
After Scour failed due to the various lawsuits filed against the startup, Kalanick found a rebound in Red Swoosh. It is fair to say that the money he got from running and selling Red Swoosh is what made him a millionaire. Some of those earnings are what helped launch Uber into what it is today. According to Business Insider, Uber’s estimated value is around $76 Billion. Most of Kalanick’s money comes from holding shares in the company. Kalanick holds 7% of the shares of Uber’s stock. Before he sold off a substantial amount of his stock shares, Kalanick was reported to be cash poor for a billionaire.
After selling off $1.4 billion of his Uber shares to Softbank which is a tech giant in Japan, his liquid assets have seen a great boost. This move made him move from being just a billionaire on paper but in actual life. Kalanick has also decided to venture into real estate as he recently acquired City Storage Systems and hopes to repurpose it for the digital era. He started an investment fund called 10100 and made himself CEO. According to Wikipedia, 10100 is dedicated to providing funding for promising firms in real estate and e-commerce. Kalanick hopes to be able to create more jobs through the investment fund but it is still unclear what those particular jobs which he intends to create areas of now.
Travis Kalanick’s expenditure and philanthropy
Kalanick likes to travel a lot. When he first became a millionaire after selling Red Swoosh, he took a year-long vacation traveling to various cities such as France and Hawaii twice, Japan, Iceland, Greece, Australia Greenland, Cape Verde, Portugal, and Senegal just to name a few.
After his departure from Uber in 2017 as the CEO, he traveled to Tahiti and cruised on a sailing vessel that cost $70 million. The vessel is owned by designer Diane von Furstenberg and renowned media mogul Barry Diller. The boat can hold 21 crew members and up to 16 guests. He also has a 1999 BMW M3 which is estimated to have cost around $45,000 at the time of its release and his recent expenditure has seen him purchase a $36.4 million Manhattan apartment. He additionally has a penthouse in Broome SoHo which is still under construction. The penthouse is in a 30 storey luxurious building. Sources close to the billionaire, however, say that Kalanick doesn’t currently have his sights set for any philanthropic work and that most of his money is usually spent on travels, purchases, and investments.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee