Paul English was working at the venture capital firm Greylock in 2004 when Steve Hafner, who had founded Orbitz, told him about his idea for a different kind of travel company. After a one-hour meeting and three drinks, English and Hafner formed Kayak, an online travel search engine. English quit his job at Greylock and started working as chief technology officer for the new website.
Kayak, which searches hundreds of travel sites at once to find deals on airfare, hotels and rental cars, is now one of the top travel sites in the market, and claims to have the number one travel app. The company, which filed documents for an initial public offering in 2010 but has yet to go public, reported it generated $170.6 million in revenue for the nine months ending Sept. 30, 2011. It processed 670 million user queries for travel information and had 5 million downloads of its mobile applications during the period.