Travis Kalanick can become influential like most entrepreneurs? He could stage an incredible comeback like Steve Jobs, have a strong second act like Marc Andreessen, or become an eccentric billionaire like Paul Allen but like most entrepreneurs, he probably had one big break, and Uber was it.
On Tuesday, Uber co-founder and long-time CEO Travis Kalanick left the company’s board after selling his last shares, severing his final formal ties with the ride sharing business he drove to success.
Travis Kalanick has sold all of his remaining Uber stock, estimated to be worth around $2.5 billion, a spokesperson told CNBC.
Apple’s co-founder, Steve Jobs also set unrealistic expectations for all other ousted tech founders when he returned to Apple in 1997 as Tech Company was weeks away from bankruptcy. Jobs undid some bad decisions, removed the underperforming product lines mercilessly and then oversaw a hit parade of products the iPod, iPhone, iMac and iPad that eventually turned Apple into the most valuable company in the world. He took a majority stake in Pixar, a decade before his return that eventually set the stage for his biggest financial windfall.
Twitter’s co-founder Jack Dorsey performed a similar feat, reclaiming the helm of the social media company in 2015 after being pushed out of the top spot in 2008. Twitter’s core business has improved slightly, since he took over, the annual revenue rose only 37% between 2015 and 2018. The company’s non-GAAP net income raised more than tripled, even as its average number of users per month stalled at around 325 million, but the social media company has since shifted metrics, and now reports average daily monetizable users.
When Kalanick co-founded Uber in 2009 and took over as CEO the following year. The investors ousted him from the top spot in 2017, after a series of missteps, including the revelations that he did allowed a culture of bullying and harassment toward the women to fester, and an intellectual property lawsuit, from Google’s parent company, Alphabet, over self-driving cars. He remained on the board long enough to help select his replacement and then started selling off his stock earlier this year.
Marc Andreessen is also one example of a true co-founder, as the creator of the first popular web browser, Netscape Navigator, Andreessen co-founded one of the most successful companies of the dot-com boom. But Microsoft (MSFT) crushed the company by building a web browser into Windows, and AOL later snapped up Netscape for a song.
Then, Andreessen had co-founded Andreessen Horowitz, a decade ago, where he used his hard-gained knowledge as an entrepreneur, to build one of the most successful venture capital firms in Silicon Valley. Among other big-name entrepreneurs to make the leap to venture investing includes the AOL’s Steve Case, who co-founded Revolution Partners and the LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, who’s now at Greylock Partners.