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The First Five Hires at Uber

By Sarah Hallam

Last updated: Feb 15, 2023

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Showtime’s new TV series Super Pumped attempts to pull back the curtain on Travis Kalanick’s early days at Uber. But who were its actual first employees, and where are they now?

Uber's co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Credit: Getty Images
Uber's co-founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick. Credit: Getty Images

Uber positioned itself as one of the biggest tech giants of the late 2010s. At one point, it was the highest-valued private startup in the world. The ride-hailing app went public on May 9, 2019, ten years after it was launched by founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp.

Based in San Francisco, Uber Technologies currently operates in 72 countries and more than 10,000 cities. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Uber reported 118 million monthly active users with 19 million trips per day. It’s expanded well-beyond on-demand car rides; it also maintains two food delivery service apps (Uber Eats and Postmates), package delivery, freight transportation, electric bicycles and scooters.

But it’s success didn’t come without some major bumps in the road.

In 2017, founder and first CEO Travis Kalanick was forced to resign after reports of cultivating a toxic workplace culture. He was replaced by Dara Khosrowshahi, who still currently leads the company.

Kalanick’s ruthless view toward competitors, work-life balance and company spending has lent great material for the latest Silicon Valley villain drama, in Showtime’s new television series “Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.” The show, a dramatized portrayal of New York Times reporter Mike Isaac’s book of the same name, illustrates the earliest days at Uber and attempts to dig into Kalanick’s rise and fall as CEO.

But who were some of the real earliest employees and what did they actually work on? Take a look at the first five hires at Uber and where they are today.

uber org chart

Travis Kalanick - 2009 to 2017

Kalanick actually founded two companies before starting Uber. In 1998, he launched the online exchange service Scour and three years later the file-sharing company RedSwoosh.

After successfully navigating an acquisition for the latter company, Kalanick teamed up with his friend Camp to launch their idea for a replacement taxi service in San Francisco. The pair thought the car service model in their city was broken and expensive, and imagined Uber as a more cost-effective replacement to current taxi services.

Kalanick served as CEO from 2009 to 2017 when he was pushed to resign after his investors reportedly demanded that he step down. He remained on the board of directors until 2019 when he officially severed all ties with the company. He also sold all his shares of Uber (worth about $2.5 billion) in November and December of that year.

He has a current net worth of $2.8 billion according to Forbes and these days leads as CEO of City Storage Systems, a holding company focused on developing distressed real estate.

Garret Camp - 2009 to 2012

Camp is a repeat startup founder. He first founded the web-discovery platform StumbleUpon (now called Mix) in 2002, and he still serves as Chairman of its board. Camp teamed up with Kalanick to start Uber in 2009.

After leaving Uber in 2012, Camp started the startup studio Expa that produced restaurant reservation app Reserve (acquired by Resy).He also remains on the board at Mix.

Oscar Salazar - 2009 to 2011

There is some dispute about Salazar as the third co-founder at Uber. He and Camp attended business school together and built Uber’s prototype with the first Uber engineer, Conrad Whelan. Although Salazar joined Uber as a founding member, he left shortly after.

He formerly worked as the chief product and technology officer at Ride, a logistics startup focused on commuters and carpooling, shortly after Uber.

Conrad Whelan - 2010 to 2016

Whelan joined forces with Camp and Salazar to build that first prototype of Uber. According to reporting by Business Insider, Camp convinced him to move to San Francisco from their native Canada to become the app’s first engineer. He worked all-hands on deck in the early days, and is credited with building the early sign-up flows that brought in Uber’s first users.

Later, he worked on the dispatch algorithm and led the engineering team in the Netherlands before leaving Uber in 2016. These days, Whelan is an investor, startup advisor and board member of Canadian technology company PK Sound.

Austin Geidt - 2010 to 2020

Geidt started out at Uber doing a wearing-many-hats marketing and administrative role. According to Business Insider, Geidt’s role wasn’t well-defined. She was doing everything from passing out flyers to promote the brand to cold-calling drivers. She also was the first person at the company to take customer service calls, sometimes staying up until three in the morning.

Later, she moved up the ranks to lead Global Expansion and then ran operations and business development for Uber’s Advanced Technology Group — which included its self-driving car unit. According to her LinkedIn, she left the company in 2020 and it’s unclear what her latest venture is.

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