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The Cofounder of Kayak Is an Entrepreneur So He Can Give More Money Away

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After seeing suffering in Haiti, Paul English decided he needed to help, and so he focused on using his programming skills to create value that he could then pass on.

You'd think it would be easy for Paul English, CTO and Founder of Kayak, an online travel search engine, to convince someone to take a trip with him. And yet, his attempts to get wealthy people to accompany him to Haiti have proven to be unbelievably difficult.

"I sometimes try to bring other entrepreneurs to developing countries to see if I can spark them," English says. "Are they afraid of what they might see? Maybe. It's easier to ignore from home."

English's second trip to Haiti in 2003 triggered something in him that altered both his for- and non-profit careers. "I saw people dying and the only reason they were dying was [that] they were poor," English says. "It was awful."

Landing back home at Logan Airport, English was overwhelmed by what he had seen. "How can I possibly fix a problem like that?" English says. "And when I feel overwhelmed, I focus only on the one next step that I know how to do."

English decided the best way for him to help a child -- like the one he had seen dying -- was to make more money to give away. Having been out of the workforce for over a year to care for his father, English contacted Bill Kaiser, a venture capitalist, and became Entrepreneur in Residence at Greylock Partners. What sparked him up to get back in the game was what he had seen in Haiti.

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