From cold call to $17 billion startup: How Uber got started with sales calls!

by Steli Efti

travis-kalanick

Uber is one of the hottest and fastest-growing companies in the world right now, raising their latest round of financing at a reported post $17B valution.

They're disrupting an industry that urgently needs it, and they're hugely successful doing so.

They have a beautifully designed app that does exactly what users want it to do.

Such a hip company surely started with some viral growth hackery from day one, right?

Well, it turns out one of the core pillars of their success in getting started and validating the idea was good old-fashioned cold calling. Pick up the phone and dial. True salesmanship.

I went to Google, typed in San Francisco chauffeur or San Francisco limousine, I just filled out an excel sheet and I just started dialing for dollars, right? First ten guys I called, three of them hung up before I got a few words out, a few of them would listen for like 45 seconds and then hung up, and three of them said 'I'm interested, let's meet.'. And if you're cold calling and three out of ten say 'let's meet', you've got something.—Travis Kalanick, Co-Founder/CEO of Uber

I've said it before: startups should pick up the phone and call.

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