Daniel Kan Was Rejected By 30 Employers. Now He’s A Co-Founder of a $1 Billion Startup

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The world of finance completely shut its doors to Daniel Kan. During his senior year in college, Dan wanted nothing more than to become a financier. But of the 35 jobs he applied for, mainly in the lucrative finance world, he got 33 rejections!

One of the opportunities he received was for teaching English in Korea. However, he opted for an opportunity to work with a fledgling San Francisco startup, UserVoice, a company that focused on helping companies gather user feedback.

But today, Dan is best known for being the founder of Cruise Automaton, a start up that GM bought for a mind-boggling 1 billion dollars in cash and stock.

He Has Come A Long Way

Dan’s journey to this rare and enviable entrepreneurial milestone began while he was still at UserVoice. This is when he began trying to set up a company of his own.

As a matter of fact, Dan had a few of false starts before stumbling on to the idea that would put him firmly in the highest echelons of entrepreneurial achievement. Dan’s first attempt at entrepreneurship was through an app called Appetizely back in 2011.

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The app was intended to offer coupons to restaurant customers to boost traffic in these establishments during low seasons. However, he would have to shut this down a couple of months later after building 30 apps for various restaurants because Apple insisted that the apps be combined into one.

Daniel Kan - a picture from his LinkedIn profile

Daniel Kan – a picture from his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/danielkan

His next venture was Exec, a personal assistant device that customers mostly used for house cleaning. The project had its moments, but Daniel wanted something he truly had a passion for, and Exec just wasn’t it. As a matter of fact, Exec was bought by a company called Handy, and it went on to take the lead in the house cleaning business.

Cruise Automaton, his most successful start up ever, was a project he was truly passionate about. The idea of autonomous driving had fascinated him ever since he had heard about it from Vogt, who had fantasized about the concept himself since he was a teenager.

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Entrepreneurship A Family Affair

As it turns out, the entrepreneurial spirit runs rampant in Dan’s family. In the 90s, his mother set up her own real estate and mortgage brokerage outfit. His older brother, Justin, is responsible for the Justin.tv, an online video platform he launched in 2006.