How Steve Hafner Founded Orbitz and Kayak
Steve Hafner is the founder of Orbitz Inc an online travel agency site, as well as, the co-founder Kayak a state of the art travel search engine. He has been able to lead these companies to unprecedented heights and was part of the successful IPO in 2012 that led to the 2.1B acquisition of Kayak by the Priceline group.
Steve Hafner, Background
Similar to most American stories, Hafner is a son of immigrants his father is German and his mother Irish. They had Steve while they were living in Peru and moved a lot while he was growing up. He was fascinated by the pace technology was evolving at his young age and by the time he cleared college, he knew that the internet was about to disrupt modern day business.
He worked at a consulting firm in his early days but left to help start Orbitz the first travel agency that was fully online based. This venture was successful since it went public and managed to raise over 1 billion dollars. However, Steve was still hungry for more success and thus he left Orbitz to go and start Kayak.
The Conceptualization of Kayak
Kayak was conceptualized over a 45-minute lunch between Steve and his good friend Paul English. They had met by chance at General Catalyst offices in Cambridge. In that meeting, they decided to go 50-50 on the Kayak travel search engine with each one of them contributing 1 million dollars to start the company.
Hafner was able to convince English to invest in him because he had a card up his sleeves. He knew that even though the idea on online travel metasearch was not a new idea, he was positive that the idea of enabling consumers to compare prices as well as shop for flights and make bookings was completely new and none of their competitors was doing it. This slight variation is what saw the company soar and overtake its competitors practically overnight. This model then led to the acquisition of Kayak by the Priceline group at the tune of 2.1 Billion dollars. Hafner still serves as the CEO of Kayak with the mission of showcasing what the world has to offer to the millions of travellers worldwide.
Steve Hafner’s Net Worth
Steve Hafner’s net worth is estimated to be over $94 million and still owns 6% of Kayak. However, there is a big probability that he is probably worth much more since his other ventures have not been made public.