Posted on April 28, 2016
Billion Dollar Automotive Startup Co-Founder Was Rejected by 35 Potential Employers
What does it take for a young startup co-founder to succeed as an entrepreneur to such an extent that his company was just sold to General Motors for one billion dollars? That’s the billion-dollar question now floating around entrepreneur circles and being discussed by business and automotive experts alike. You might think his success is due to timing, luck and great connections, and that may be partially true. But what Dan Kan has over and above just being at the right place at the right time are a number of key attributes for entrepreneurial success: a highly analytical mind, a fearlessness about taking risk, a strong follow-through that comes out of his hardworking nature, and a determination to never let anything stand in his way, among many other things.
Cruise Automation is the company he co-founded and it provides the technology behind self-driving vehicles. Kan co-founded Cruise Automation in 2014 with his long-time friend and colleague, Kyle Vogt, who has been a life-long autonomous driving enthusiast. Just two years after the company’s inception, Cruise Automation has just been sold to General Motors for a cool billion dollars.
Of the billion, the funds get divided between Dan Kan, Kyle Vogt who is the CEO of Cruise Automation, the other startup employees and the investors early on. There is a lawsuit launched between different owners’ and rights to the founding idea of the company. But nothing can stop the GM buyout. Dan Kan has leapt ahead by decades, and he has achieved a lot while remaining humble, just 7 years out of college.
Dan Kan, the Billionaire Company Co-Founder, Was Refused by Many Employers
The big story that recently hit Entrepreneur Magazine online was of Cruise Automation, which General Motors just purchased for $1 billion cash. It’s a record-breaking kind of story, both in terms of its automotive technology and its brilliant co-founders.
Entrepreneurial Energy Shared Across Kan Family Generations
Kan maintains that the people around him and the connections that formed among entrepreneurial circles, made his whole success. That it went way beyond the idea or executing it. Kan was raised in a family full of entrepreneurs, and not did his Mom start up her own mortgage broker and real estate business, he and his brothers would utilize map books, a photocopier and a good deal of tape to logically plan out his mother’s routes to all of her real estate prospects. Google Maps did not yet exist.
Justin, Dan’s brother, founded and ran Twitch in its earlier online video platform incarnation, called Justin.tv. The shared entrepreneurial family energy still continues on now, in shared and connected living spaces between the brothers. Dan insists he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is today, if not for the help of Justin and other Twitch company members, who helped him get his name out there in Silicon Valley.
Many Different Start-Ups Came Before Cruise Automation
Success did not come to Dan Kan overnight, and Cruise Automation wasn’t Kan’s first startup. He was determined to win and absolutely fearless, and it may be that very fearlessness to risk that put Kan over the top. Known as a savvy practical thinker and not averse to hard work, there wasn’t much that ever stopped Kan in achieving what he wanted. He kept others on their toes. Before Cruise Automation that GM just bought, Kan started up Appetizely and Exec, an app company and personal assistant service operating in the online space.
Autonomous Driving Technology at Cruise Automation Strikes a Chord
Kan joined Cruise Automation in 2014 with his colleague and friend Kyle Vogt, a longtime autonomous driving concept obsessive. It was their combined obsession with autonomous driving in the current market, that drove their company’s success and achievement.
Although Kan could not expose any information about Cruise Automation’s technology to Entrepreneur Magazine now that it’s part of General Motors, the price speaks for itself.