In the year 2010, Travis Kalanick was working on a a business idea that had the potential to change the way we hail cabs. He had just sold his last business, Red Swoosh for $19m. A very moderate amount by Silicon Valley Standards.
The second side of the story has Ryan Graves, who was a recently-engaged Chicagoan and had spent two years at General Electric Healthcare, spending nights and weekends on a startup of his own that never quite got off the ground.
He later spent three months as an unpaid “pseudo intern” working alongside Foursquare’s business development lead by Tristan Walker. But despite what a former colleague calls his “tireless” efforts, Foursquare declined to offer him a permanent position.
Then one day, he spotted a tweet: “Looking for a business development & product badass,” it said. The tweet was from Travis. He was looking for a business guy to lead the expansion of the ride hailing app – UBER.
“Here’s a tip,” Graves responded, tweeting back his gmail address.
Kalanick emailed Graves. The two met, decided to work together, and officially launched UberCab a few months later. Graves was CEO, a role he held for about a year as the startup took off. Graves is now SVP of Global Operations.
The end result of that tweet made Graves and Kalanick, along with a handful of Uber investors and employees, very rich. Graves currently has a net worth of around $1.6 billion.
The rest, as they say is history and the tweet came to be known as the ‘Billion Dollar Tweet’.