Travis Kalanick, 25
Internet and Web
Travis Kalanick is good at escaping sticky situations. In 1998,he launched Scour.com with six buddies at the University of California, Los Angeles. What began as a Web search engine morphed into a popular peer- to-peer file exchange system with 250,000 simultaneous users trading movies and music. Everything was looking up until more than 30 media companies sued Scour for $250 billion for copyright infringement. Scour settled and eventually sold its assets. Then, in 2001, Kalanick founded Los Angeles-based Red Swoosh with Scour’s engineering team. They’ve developed software that streamlines the way content—documents, music, videos—is moved around on the Internet. Typically, when you request a file from a Web site, it is delivered from a centralized server. Red Swoosh’s software continually updates a directory that lists which files are on which servers and end-user desktops and transfers the file to you from the closest source, speeding delivery. The scheme also saves big bucks in server infrastructure for the company that posted the file. Several media moguls with busy Web sites are now testing his software.