Jawed Karim is a well-known American software engineer and Internet entrepreneur of Bangladeshi and German descent, who co-founded YouTube and was the first person to upload a video on the site. He was born on October 28, 1979, in Merseburg, East Germany, and is the elder of two boys. His father, Naimul Karim, is a Muslim Bangladeshi who works as a researcher at 3M, and his mother, Christine, is a German scientist in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota. Karim moved with his family to Saint Paul, Minnesota, in 1992, and graduated from Saint Paul Central High School in 1997.
Karim attended the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in computer science. He subsequently earned a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford University. During his university studies, Karim served an Internship at Silicon Graphics, Inc., where he worked on 3D voxel data management for very large data sets for volume rendering, including the data for the Visible Human Project. In 2002, while working at PayPal, he met Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, and three years later, in 2005, they founded the video-sharing website YouTube.
Co-Founder of YouTube
Karim created the first channel on YouTube, “jawed,” on April 23, 2005, and uploaded the website’s first video, “Me at the zoo,” the same day. The video has been viewed over 260 million times as of March 16, 2024. After co-founding the company and developing the YouTube concept and website with Chad Hurley and Steve Chen, Karim enrolled as a graduate student in computer science at Stanford University while acting as an adviser to YouTube. When the site was introduced in February 2005, Karim agreed not to be an employee and simply be an informal adviser, and that he was focusing on his studies. As a result, he took a much lower share in the company compared to Hurley and Chen.
Karim’s role in the company was mostly unknown to the public as the third founder until YouTube was acquired by Google in 2006. Despite his lower share in the company, the purchase was still large enough that he received 137,443 shares of stock, worth about $64 million based on Google’s closing stock price at the time. In October 2006, Karim gave a lecture about the history of YouTube at the University of Illinois annual ACM Conference entitled “YouTube From Concept to Hyper-growth.” He returned again to the University of Illinois in May 2008 as the 136th and youngest commencement speaker in the school’s history.
Karim launched a venture fund called Youniversity Ventures (now known as YVentures) in March 2008 with partners Keith Rabois and Kevin Hartz. He is one of Airbnb’s first investors, investing in the company’s initial seed round in April 2009. Y Ventures has also invested in Palantir, Reddit, and Eventbrite. Occasionally, Karim has updated the video description of “Me at the zoo” to criticize decisions made by YouTube.
On November 6, 2013, YouTube began requiring that commenting on its videos be done via a Google+ account, a move that was widely opposed by the YouTube community. An online petition to revert the change garnered over 240,000 signatures. In response to Google requiring YouTube members to use Google+ for its comment system, Karim wrote on his YouTube account, “why the fuck do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?” and updated the video description on his first video titled “Me at the zoo” to “I can’t comment here anymore, since 2005.
Jawed Karim is a very private individual and has managed to keep his personal life away from the public eye. It is not known if he is married or has any children. However, it is known that he has a close relationship with his family, especially his father who he often mentions in interviews. Karim is also known for his love of cars, particularly Porsches, and has been spotted driving his Porsche 911 GT3 RS around the streets of Silicon Valley.
Jawed Karim has also shown a commitment to philanthropy, particularly in the areas of education and technology. In 2011, he donated $1 million to his alma mater, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, to establish the Jawed Karim Endowment Fund for the Illinois Computer Science Department. The fund supports undergraduate and graduate students studying computer science and encourages them to pursue careers in technology.
Karim has also been involved in the Khan Academy, a non-profit educational organization that provides free online courses and lessons to anyone, anywhere. In 2013, Karim donated $10,000 to the organization, and in 2015, he was appointed to its board of directors.
Jawed Karim will always be remembered as one of the co-founders of YouTube, a website that has revolutionized the way we consume and share videos online. His contributions to PayPal, particularly in the development of its anti-fraud system, have also had a significant impact on the e-commerce industry.
Karim’s success as an entrepreneur and his commitment to philanthropy has also made him an inspiration to many. He has shown that with hard work, determination, and a good idea, anyone can achieve great success.
Jawed Karim is a true pioneer in the world of technology and entrepreneurship. He co-founded YouTube, one of the most successful and influential websites of all time, and helped develop PayPal’s anti-fraud system, which has had a significant impact on e-commerce. Karim’s success has not only made him a wealthy man but also a philanthropist, dedicated to improving education and technology for others. His contributions have left a lasting impact on the world, and his legacy will continue to inspire future generations.