Uber Gets Massive Investment Boost From Saudi Arabia

It’s hard to consider Uber a startup these days due to how widespread and successful its become, but the yellow cab killer is still raking in funding so we’re inclined to continue using the startup tag.

In fact, the Financial Times are reporting that Uber’s latest round of funding is  the “largest single investment ever made in a public company.” That investment, as you read in the title, comes from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, and it came in the form of a whopping $3.5 billion. Uber has been operating in Saudi Arabia since 2014 and the managing director of the Public Investment Fund, Yasir Al Rumayyan, said that this investment is part of the country’s Vision 2030 plan to reduce dependence on oil-related industries.

Not for anything, but the Uber investment is only going to reduce oil dependence if every Uber cab is electric or hydrogen powered. But that’s just me being a stickler.

Rumayyan gets a seat on Uber’s board as part of the deal, but Uber doesn’t really have a specific expansion plan going forward. Since women are prohibited from driving in Saudi Arabia, it makes sense that a whopping 80 percent of their Uber riders are women. CEO Travis Kalanick put an interesting spin on that, saying “Our experience in Saudi Arabia is a great example of how Uber can benefit riders, drivers and cities and we look forward to partnering to support their economic and social reforms.”

We’ll see if Uber can actually manage any of that, but at least they’re helping women travel.


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