How Travis Kalanick built Uber into the most valuable and controversial startup in the world


Travis Kalanick


Uber CEO Travis Kalanick.

Five years ago, a company called UberCab made a splash in San Francisco by letting you hail a car with your smartphone. Since then, the company, now known as Uber, has spread like wildfire through the globe. Uber currently operates in 58 countries and is valued at over $60 billion.


But the road hasn't been easy.

While its valuation has continued to climb and it has attracted more and more investors, Uber has also fought rivals and regulators as it has transformed from a black-car service into a sprawling logistics company gunning for a future of self-driving cars. It has confronted threats from the taxi industry and even its own drivers. 

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It has also waged war against Didi Chuxing, its rival in gaining ride-hailing dominance in China. After a prolonged and exorbitantly costly battle, however, Uber China is now surrendering to Didi in a $35 billion megamerger.


FILE PHOTO: A fleet of Uber's Ford Fusion self driving cars are shown during a demonstration of self-driving automotive technology in Pittsburgh, U.S., September 13, 2016.     REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk/File Photo

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In 2017, Uber has weathered controversy after controversy: A #DeleteUber campaign that cost the company 200,000 customers in a single weekend. Allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination by multiple former employees. A bombshell report of drug use and groping at a company event. Uber's own investors speaking out, a lawsuit from Google, and Travis Kalanick himself caught on camera in a heated argument with an Uber driver.

After a stunning, two-week string of blows that has upended the world's most valuable startup, we look back at how the company got to where it is today. See the insane and successful journey of Uber and its CEO, Travis Kalanick, as it has moved from an idea to a worldwide phenomenon. 

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