How Garrett Camp Founded Uber, Invested in Crypto Currencies and Made His Billions

Having gained a net worth of $4 billion, dexterous businessman Garrett Camp ranks among the top wealthiest people in Canada. He first attained international recognition as the founder of one of the world’s best-known search and advertisement websites, StumbleUpon. The Canadian entrepreneur then moved on to increase his wealth and celebrity status by establishing Uber, a popularly known transportation tech company. At one time, Uber Technologies emerged as the world’s most valuable startup with a valuation of $51 billion.

Although many controversies and the coronavirus pandemic have hampered the company’s success story, Camp has continued to grow the business by partnering with other companies and even acquired stakes in some of them. Besides Uber and StumbleUpon, Garrett Camp has also launched other projects, including startup studio, Expa, and digital currency Eco which all account for his high net worth. The billionaire has since pledged to donate at least half of his wealth to charity by signing Bill Gates and Warren Buffett‘s Giving Pledge.

How Much is Garrett Camp Worth?

Following the invention of successful startups in the past years, Garrett Camp has accrued a net worth of $4 billion. He was worth more in 2019 when he had an estimated total wealth of $4.6 billion. However, his net worth is bound to have an upward trajectory in the coming years, as he has been launching different services in his tech company, Uber, which are expected to become profitable in the future. He sold his first venture, StumbleUpon, which was launched in 2001 to eBay for $75 million in the year 2007. He later bought it back before integrating its feature in the startup studio, Expa, founded in 2013. Since launching Expa, it has raised venture capital of over $140 million, establishing more than a dozen startups in the process.

Additionally, the Canadian businessman owns about 4 percent of Uber which is valued at over $3 billion. The cab-hailing startup which he co-founded with Travis Kalanic operates in more than 60 countries and generates revenues of over $10 billion, though it has been recording operating losses over the past years. With his current estimated fortune, Camp ranks as the 655th billionaire in the world. He was the third richest entrepreneur under 40 in America in 2016 and the 48th wealthiest person in tech in the year 2017.

The Computer Programmer Launched His First Venture While in The University

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Garrett Camp was born in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on October 4th, 1978. His mother worked as an artist while his father was an economist before becoming a home builder. In 2001, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Calgary. He further achieved a Master of Science degree in Software Engineering, Information Retrieval, Evolutionary Algorithms, and Researching Collaborative Systems. During his time in the university, in November 2001, Camp launched StumbleUpon, a discovery and advertising engine.

With the website allowing users to find and rate videos, web pages, and photos that are personalized to their interest and taste, StumbleUpon gained wild popularity. Thus, it subsequently attracted investors that participated in raising venture capital of $1.2 million. The startup was eventually bought by eBay and soon after, Garret Camp became the chief executive officer and then campaigned for its spin-off from eBay which happened in 2009. Later in 2015, he bought a majority stake in the venture, acquiring it all back.

StumbleUpon had about 5 million users in April 2008. Two years later, it gained more than 10 million members which rose to over 25 million users in the year 2012. Following the launching of Expa, a startup studio, Camp created a successor of StumbleUpon called Mix and moved its users to the discovery tool. As such, he closed down StumbleUpon in June 2018. Before its closure, the startup was named on Time Magazine’s list of 50 Must-Have iPad Apps in 2013. It was also ranked among the 50 Best Websites by Time magazine in 2007.

His Company Uber is One of The Largest Ride-Hailing Companies in The World

Camp had the idea of founding a ride-hailing service when he was in Paris in 2008 together with Travis Kalanick. They attended an annual tech conference called LeWeb. During the conference, on one winter night, the two had an urgent need for a cab service and the idea of requesting a cab service from a mobile device came up. Garrett Camp followed up the idea by buying the domain name UberCab.com and funded its seed round of $250 thousand from his personal wealth. He founded Uber together with Kalanick while serving as the chief executive of StumbleUpon.

After co-founding the tech company in March 2009, he launched it in San Fransico in the next year. In that same 2010, a venture capital totaling $1.25 million was raised by investors. Over the years, Uber has been credited with revolutionizing the cab-hailing service around the world. Although it was projected to have a valuation of $120 billion during its initial public offering in May 2019, Uber recorded the largest first-day dollar loss in the IPO history in the US after its shares dropped by 11 percent. After the company’s initial public offering, it had a market cap of $69 billion but it is currently valued at over $75 billion.

Having garnered popularity for its wide range of services which include food delivery, couriers, freight transportation, ride-hailing, and package delivery, Uber has more than 90 million monthly active users across the globe. It has operations in more than 900 metropolitan areas, covering over 65 countries. As a result, it is ranked among the biggest companies in the gig economy. The tech company makes a profit by taking a 25 percent share of each fare provided by its drivers of over five million. It fixes the terms and fees on which drivers transport customers using a dynamic pricing strategy.

Hence, the fees fluctuate and are dependent on the local supply and demand of service at the time. In 2012, the company launched UberX, an option that allows people to use non-luxury vehicles which is cheaper. Thus, personal vehicles used for this service are subjected to a background check, ensuring they are registered and meet vehicle standards. Uber further introduced an online food ordering and delivery service called Uber Eats, as well as a shared transport service, UberPool two years later.

In 2020, the globally recognized startup generated $11.1 billion in revenue, with a net loss of $6.7 billion as its services were affected by the COVID-19 global lockdown. As a subsidiary of Uber, Uber Eats generated a revenue of $2.51 billion in the year 2019. It is present in more than 30 countries and covers over 6,000 cities. It makes its delivery via scooters, cars, bikes, and sometimes, on foot.

The Entrepreneur Has Expanded Uber Through Multiple Acquisitions and Joint Ventures

Over the years, Garrett Camp’s company has gone on to form partnerships with many companies. Its joint venture with Lime gives users the opportunity to rent motorized scooters and electric bicycles. In the year 2014, Uber began operating in China under the name Yōubù. Having encountered tough challenges in the country, claiming losses of over $1 billion annually, Uber sold its operation in the country to Didi, a vehicle for hire company with tens of millions of drivers and more than 500 million users.

At the time of the deal, Uber China had a valuation of $35 billion and following Didi’s acquisition of the company, Uber owns a 5.89 percent stake in Didi. In 2018, Uber invested $225 million in Yandex Taxi, forming a partnership with the company. Thus, it runs a combined operation with Yandex Taxi in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, and Armenia. Also, it merged its services with Grab in Southeast Asia and this partnership bagged the transportation tech company a 27.5 percent ownership stake in Grab.

Furthermore, Uber purchased the vehicle for hire company Careem for $3.1 billion in January 2020. The company covers 15 countries and has operations in more than 100 cities. The ride-hailing venture also acquired a 9.9 percent stake in Zomato that same month after selling its Indian Eats operations to the food delivery company founded by Pankaj Chaddah and Deepinder Goyal in 2008. In July 2020, Uber partnered with its majority-owned Cornershop to establish a delivery service in Dallas, Miami, Latin America, and Canada. It additionally purchased Postmates, a food delivery service for $2.65 billion in 2020, as well as Drizly, an alcohol delivery service for $1.1 billion in February 2021.

Garrett Camp’s company started offering helicopter service (Uber Copter) between Manhattan and John F. Kennedy International Airpot following its partnership with HeliFlight in October 2019. The 8-minute helicopter flight operations cost $200-$225 per passenger. More so, the company partners with local operators who offer boat transportation services in some locations during a certain period of the year.

It entered its first software as a service (SaaS) joint venture with California-based public bus agency, Marin Transit in June 2020. As such, Uber will be managing the on-demand high-occupancy vehicle fleet for the agency. Uber was named the Tech company of the Year in December 2013 by USA Today.

Summary of Uber’s Revenue and Net Profit in The Past Years

Year Revenue Net Profit
2015 $1.7 billion $-1.6 billion
2016 $5 billion $-3.6 billion
2017 $7.9 billion $-4 billion
2018 $11.3 billion $1 billion
2019 $14.1 billion $-8.5 billion
2020 $11.1 billion $-6.7 billion

How Controversies Has Hampered The Success of The Famous Cab-Hailing Service

In January 2017, when the New York City taxi protest about Executive Order 13769 was ongoing, Uber was operating during the strike. Hence, a social media campaign to delete Uber ensued and this led to the company losing almost 200,000 customers who deleted the app from their mobile phones during the campaign. In that same month, Federal Trade Commission accused the ride-sharing startup of misleading drivers about potential earnings. As such, they settled the case by agreeing to pay the United States government a fine of $20 million.

Later in November 2017, Uber was asked by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission to pay a fine of $8.7 million after the agency discovered that 57 Uber drivers in Colorado had violations in their background check. The commission equally discovered the company gave a driving permit to a convicted felon using a moniker. Furthermore, Uber agreed to pay a legal settlement fee of $20 million in March 2019 as Uber drivers filed a lawsuit against the company, pleading that they should be classified as employees and not independent contractors. As such, they would be entitled to incentives including reimbursement of business expenditures such as vehicle maintenance and gas costs.

Uber Technologies was also fined by the New Jersey Department of Labour and Workforce Development for overdue unemployment and disability insurance taxes, stating that the ride-sharing startup should classify its drivers as employees and not independent contractors.

Garrett Camp Started Working on His Cryptocurrency Project in 2018

In addition to launching multiple startups, Garrett Camp has grown his net worth by investing in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Not being impressed with the challenges plaguing existing cryptocurrencies, the entrepreneur revealed his plans of launching a digital currency called Eco which can be used as a payment tool globally in early 2018. He plans on designing Eco’s blockchain to run on verified nodes, unlike other cryptocurrencies that allow an anonymous network of volunteers to run nodes and confirm transactions.

Also, up to one trillion tokens of the cryptocurrency will be initially released and about 50 percent of it will be distributed to the first one billion verified people that sign up on the website. Additionally, in the proposed system of the digital currency, whenever a node confirms a block of financial transactions, its reward will be shared across all nodes and users. This will help reduce energy consumption by miners who normally compete for the entire reward in other virtual currencies. Eco Foundation has been established to spearhead the crypto project and Garrett Camp aims to work with universities and research institutes.

Unlike other digital currencies, Eco won’t be having an initial coin offering (ICO). Its first fundraising round was led by Expa and venture capital of $8.5 million was raised. The second round which was led by a16z Crypto raised $26 million in March 2021 and other investors such as Coinbase Venture, Activant Capital, and Tribe Capital participated in the fundraising round. Eco is still in its nascent stage, as such, it offers rewards on digital asset spending and savings at companies such as Uber and Amazon.

List of The Organizations The Businessman Has Been Associated With and His Roles in Them

  • StumbleUpon (Founder and Chairman)
  • Uber (Co-Founder and Board Member)
  • Expa (Founder)
  • Mix (Founder and Chairman)
  • Eco Foundation (Founder)

A Look at His Other Investments

In the past years, Garret Camp has invested in several business ventures, jacking up his estimated fortune in the process. Before Behance was purchased by Adobe in 2012, he was a Series-A investor in the company. He has further made investments in SoundTracking, a music sharing application; Prism Skylabs – a video analytics platform; live music ticket-buying app, WillCall; and lPSDept, a shopping app. More so, he is an investor in the on-demand private aviation service, BlackJet.

Highlights of Camp’s Revenue Streams

  • StumbleUpon (closed down in 2018)
  • Uber
  • Uber Eats
  • Uber Copter
  • Expa
  • Mix
  • Venture capital investments
  • Cryptocurrency investments

Garrett Camp’s Achievements

Camp was listed among the Best Young Entrepreneurs in Tech by Bloomberg Businessweek in 2008. In 2015, the entrepreneur was ranked the third richest Canadian and the world’s 283rd wealthiest person by Forbes with a net worth of $5.3 billion.

For founding popular startups like Uber and StumbleUpon, the Canadian was honored at the Tribeca Disruptive Innovation Awards in 2013.

Chioma Uchenwoke
Apart from content writing in the area of entertainment, personal finance and celebrity net worth, Chioma’s main interests are movies, football, music and books. She has been writing professionally for about 2 years in these fields

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