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Travis Cordell Kalanick (born August 6, 1976) is an American computer programmer and businessman. He is the co-founder of the peer-to-peer file sharing company Red Swoosh and the transportation network company Uber.[4]

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.
Education UCLA (dropped out)
Occupation Internet entrepreneur
Known for Co-founder of Red Swoosh and Uber
Net worth Increase US$6.3 Billion (March 2017)[1]
Title CEO of Uber
Partner(s) Gabi Holzwarth (2014–2016)
Parent(s) Donald Edward Kalanick (father)
Bonnie Horowitz Kalanick (mother)
Relatives Cory Kalanick (brother)
Anji Arm (half-sister)[2]
Steve Arm (brother-in-law)
Allisyn Ashley Arm (half-niece)
Josie Arm (half-niece)

In 2014, he entered the Forbes list of the 400 richest Americans at position 190, with an estimated net worth of $3 billion.[5]


Early life and educationEdit

Kalanick was born on August 6, 1976, in Los Angeles. He grew up in Northridge, California, where he graduated from Granada Hills High School and later enrolled in college at University of California, Los Angeles, to study computer engineering.[6][7][8]


Kalanick's parents are Bonnie Renée Horowitz Kalanick (née Bloom) and Donald Edward Kalanick. Bonnie worked in retail advertising for the Los Angeles Daily News, and Donald was a civil engineer[9] for the city of Los Angeles.[10]

Travis's mother Bonnie grew up in a Jewish family with one non-Jewish grandparent, her maternal grandfather who was of German and Irish descent. Bonnie's father Morris Bloom (also known as Maurice Buddy Bloom) was the son of Frank Bloom and Rose Winegart, both Jewish immigrants to the United States. Frank came from Poland and Rose from Russia.[citation needed] Bonnie's mother Shirley Anita Ehni was the daughter of Charles Joseph Ehni and Tillie Kohn. Charles's father was German, and his mother was Irish. Tillie's parents were Jewish immigrants to the United States: her father came from Germany and her mother from Poland.[citation needed]

Travis's father Donald grew up in a Catholic family with Slovakian[11] and Austrian roots. They had all immigrated to the United States in Donald's grandparents' generation. Donald's parents were Michael Andrew "Mike" Kalanick (the son of Ján Kalanin, later John Kalanick, and Anna Polanská) and Mary Zeyock (the daughter of Jiří "George" Zeyock and Anna "Annie" Androsová).[12][13][14]

Travis has two half-sisters, one of whom is Allisyn Ashley Arm's mother Anji, and a brother, Cory, who is a firefighter.[10][15]


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

Scour (1998–2000)Edit

In 1998, Travis 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][18] In 2000, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), and the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA) brought a $250 billion[19] lawsuit against Scour, alleging copyright infringement.[20] In September of that year, Scour filed for bankruptcy to protect itself from the lawsuit.[21]

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. 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 got much help from former Scour employees.

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."),[19] 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,"[19] witnessing "all but one of the company's engineers" leaving (who eventually also departed),[19] and moving to Thailand as a cost-saving measure.[19] In 2007, Akamai Technologies acquired the company for $19 million.[25][26][27][28]

Uber (2009–present)Edit

In 2009, Kalanick joined Garrett Camp and gives him "full credit for the idea"[19][29] of Uber, a mobile app that connects passengers with drivers of vehicles for hire and ridesharing services.[30][31][32] Camp, cofounder of StumbleUpon, spent $800 hiring a private driver with friends and had been mulling over ways to decrease the cost of black car services ever since. He realized that sharing the cost with people could make it affordable, and his idea morphed into Uber.[19] "Garrett is the guy who invented that shit", Kalanick said at an early Uber event in San Francisco.[19][29] 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.[19] In December 2010, Kalanick succeeded Ryan Graves as CEO,[19] who had held the position for ten months.[33]

Uber operates in 66 countries and in more than 507 cities around the world.[34][35][36] Uber faced some controversy[37] in some cities in North America,[38] such as Washington, D.C.,[39] Chicago,[40] Toronto,[41] and New York City.[42][43] The company faces fierce competition from similar services[44] and "clone companies"[45] in cities such as London.[46][47]

Economic Advisor to Trump CouncilEdit

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,[48][49] in December 2016, it was announced that Kalanick joined other CEOs as an economic advisor on Trump's Strategy and Policy Forum,[50] organized by Blackstone's Stephen Schwarzman.[51] However, in February 2017, after wide criticism for saying he would continue to engage President Trump's agenda after the executive order banning refugees, Kalanick announced in an email to Uber employees that he would step down from the council.[52]

Corporate cultureEdit

Kalanick has referred to his increased success with women after Uber as "Boob-er" and "women on demand".[53][54]

In 2017, it was reported that Kalanick had knowledge of sexual harassment allegations at Uber and did nothing.[55] In the same week, he asked his direct report,[56] 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.[57][58][59]

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.[60][61][62]

In March 2017, Uber VP of Business, Emil Michael contacted Kalanick's ex-girlfriend in an attempt to silence her into hiding a HR complaint. This backfired, with her being sourced as 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 sexism complaint by the female manager who attended.[63][64]


He speaks at conferences and business events,[65] including TechCrunch Disrupt,[66] Tech Cocktail,[67] DLD, and LeWeb.[68][69][70][71]

Personal lifeEdit

Kalanick and Angie You, his then-longtime girlfriend, bought a townhouse in the upper hills of the San Francisco's Castro section, which was nicknamed "the Jam Pad" and had its own Twitter account. The two remain close and still speak on a regular basis.[72]

From 2014–2016, Kalanick dated Gabi Holzwarth,[73][60][61] an event and former street[74][75] violinist who interned at Shyp,[76][77] and gave a 2014 TedX talk about battling addiction and eating disorders.[78] Uber investor Shervin Pishevar discovered Holzwarth playing the violin outside a Trader Joe's and hired her to play at his event where he introduced the two.[79][74][75] She rose into the limelight when comedian T. J. Miller made disparaging jokes about her (including calling her a bitch) at the 2015 Crunchies Awards.[80][81] In May 2017, Kalanick's mother was killed in a boating accident at age 71. His father was injured in the accident. [82]


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  10. ^ 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
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  43. ^ D.C. official retreats on fare measure aimed at San Francisco limo firm, San Francisco Business Times
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  45. ^ "Look Out, Lyft: Uber CEO Travis Kalanick Says It Will Do Ride Sharing, Too". TechCrunch. 
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External linksEdit