Garrett Camp, a successful Canadian entrepreneur who was born in 1978, is well known for his innovative technology projects. He co-founded two of the most well-known companies, Uber and StumbleUpon (now Mix).
In addition to serving as chairman of Mix, Garrett founded the business incubator Expa, through which he provides startup funding.
One of his most recent endeavors is Eco, which was initially intended to be a cryptocurrency but is currently a personal finance/investment app.
Since Travis Kalanick is so closely associated with Uber and it is frequently claimed that it was his “instinct and drive” that sent the taxi app into the stratosphere of valuation, it is frequently forgotten who came up with the big idea.
According to Forbes, Garrett Camp, a Canadian “serial entrepreneur” who was by far the quieter player in the duo with Kalanick, deserves to receive this honor.
For a turbulent ten years, the two men were coworkers.
This is the story of how Garrett started a series of innovative businesses.
Garrett Camp was born in Canada on October 4th, 1978. He grew up in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
His mother was an artist, and his father worked as an economist. His parents later changed careers and became builders.
Garrett attended an elementary school with only 150 students where he completed his education.
He enrolled at the University of Calgary in 1996 to pursue a degree in electrical engineering after graduating from high school.
After finishing his junior year, he worked on speech recognition technology during an internship at Nortel Networks.
During his time in Montreal, he also attended classes at Concordia University.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Calgary in 2001, followed by a master’s degree in software engineering.
Garrett decided to start his own business while still a student at the university. He got together with three of his friends, Geoff Smith, Justin LaFrance, and Eric Boyd, to talk about potential business ventures.
The friends debated five or six different ideas before settling on developing a discovery engine. While Garrett was still in college, StumbleUpon was launched.
The discovery engine was created to help people find sites that are more relevant to their interests than a standard search engine.
Within a few years, the company had achieved success, and its rising popularity drew the attention of Silicon Valley angel investors.
StumbleUpon moved to San Francisco in 2006 after receiving its first investment from Silicon Valley angels.
Within ten years of its founding, it had amassed over 25 million registered users. TIME named StumbleUpon one of the “50 Best Websites.”
StumbleUpon was sold to eBay for $75 million by its founders in 2007. They did, however, repurchase it a few years later in 2009. StumbleUpon is once again an independent, investor-backed startup.
Garrett Camp co-founded Uber with Oscar Salazar and Travis Kalanick as UberCab in early 2009, while still CEO of StumbleUpon, and self-funded the $250K seed round.
Uber debuted in San Francisco in mid-2010 with only a few cars on the road and raised $1.25 million in venture capital in late 2010.
In 2011, the business kept growing both domestically and internationally, reaching significant markets like Paris and New York City.
With the tagline “Everyone’s Private Driver,” Uber launched the UberX and Uber SUV in the middle of 2012 to give customers more affordable options.
Uber launched UberTAXI in late 2012, enabling taxi drivers to use the app with customer fares that are similar to those of a taxi.
Early in 2013, CEO Travis Kalanick revealed that Uber would start providing a ride-sharing service and allow local drivers to use the app.
Uber was named one of Forbes’ top ten companies in 2012, and it was ranked sixth on Fast Company’s list of the most innovative companies in 2013.
Uber is headquartered in San Francisco and has expanded both domestically and internationally, serving over 600 cities worldwide.
Garrett announced in 2020 that he would leave the board of directors but would continue to serve as a board observer at the company.
Garrett, a co-founder of two highly successful startups, decided to use his decade of startup experience to build new businesses.
Garrett founded Expa in May 2013. Expa is a global network of businesspeople who support peer-to-peer business and company creation.
Since its founding, Expa has launched or invested in more than 30 ventures with success, and for these ventures, it has raised more than $1 billion in funding.
Its Expa Studio division also offers workspaces, administrative assistance, and technical guidance to start-ups and new businesses.
In October 2015, Garrett attempted a new internet search tool, similar to StumbleUpon. As the next great way to access the best of the web, Garrett Camp developed Mix.
Mix utilizes machine learning, editor picks, and best-in-class publishers to filter out the noise in an ever-busier internet and uncover hidden gems. However, Mix does more than just follow your preferences.
If a mutual friend shares an article or a video, Mix receives a stronger signal that you may be interested in that article. People can follow curators as well as just their particular collections.
To put it another way, if you trust a friend who is a good cook but dislikes their music taste, you can choose to only follow their recipe collection. Quite cool, huh?
The goal of Mix is to bring together the creative and the curious by delivering tailored recommendations one click at a time.
The registered accounts from the defunct StumbleUpon were transferred to Mix in 2018.
One of his most recent endeavors is Eco, which was initially intended to be a cryptocurrency but is currently a personal finance/investment app. It is another one of Garrett’s Expa initiatives.
Garrett wanted Eco to be faster and use less energy than other cryptos.
However, it was never developed beyond the design stage. Instead, Camp collaborated with Beam.io to transform Eco into a financial app that allows users to spend, send, and save money.
According to Forbes, with an estimated net worth of US$5.3 billion in 2015, he was the 283rd richest person in the world and the third-richest Canadian.
Camp has also taken The Giving Pledge, pledging to donate half of his fortune to charity.
Camp established the Camp Foundation in 2018 as a non-profit research organization to support sustainability, infrastructure, and conservation projects with a significant global impact.
Camp not only writes down all of his ideas, but also solicits feedback from friends, fellow workers, and investors. In the case of Uber, he had the concept for about a year before Travis Kalanick found it.
This is his strategy for attracting people who are genuinely enthusiastic about the concept. Camp knows he has a good idea when others respond passionately to how it sounds.
The main lesson to be learned from this is that even ground-breaking concepts like Uber take time to develop.
This is why it’s crucial to rediscover and embrace the excitement of the early stages. After a company has achieved success, anyone can become excited about it.
However, if your startup team is prepared to work in obscurity for longer than a year, that’s yet another indication that your concept has the potential to succeed.
Garrett believes that when you build a startup, you will have a strong desire to see it succeed. You’ll give it a lot of attention because you want it to exist.
Of course, when you’re first developing a product for yourself, there will always be those who doubt its viability.
Garrett says that outsiders tend to reject worthwhile suggestions before giving them serious consideration.
There are always going to be people who don’t “get it,” but frequently the reason for that is that they only gave it a five-minute thought.
If you are passionate about your idea, however, you shouldn’t give a damn about the cynics who listen to it casually and dismiss it without giving it a chance.
The key meaning of remaining self-funded for as long as possible is to avoid very early pre-seed and seed investors, who take large percentages of the company in exchange for a small financial investment.
A typical $100k for 20%, for example, gives the early investor 20% of the startup for $100,000.
However, this money is usually quickly spent by the startup, and the startup then needs to raise another round, then another round, and so on…
Founders lose power in the company when they give up too much too soon, so avoid getting investors too soon. Thus, Maintain self-sufficiency for as long as possible.
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