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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Thursday, January 18, 2018


Saudi’s investment arm pouring in $3.5 billion in Uber

Investment has come from unexpected quarters

Share on Facebook June 2, 2016, Reporter : Big News Network, Reader : 388


RIYADH, Saudi Arabia - In a twist of fate for San Francisco-based private technology firm, Uber - investment has come from unexpected quarters after Saudi Arabia decided to pour in investments worth $3.5 billion.> Big News Network

Saudi Arabia’s government investment arm, the Public Investment Fund is said to be making an investment in Uber, that is being classified as one of Saudi’s largest ever investments in a private technology firm.

The Saudi Press Agency said that the investment, part of Uber’s Series G fundraising round, is one of PIF’s single largest international transactions to date and the first since Saudi Arabia announced Vision 2030 which is the overarching plan for diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy.

According to the deal, the Managing Director of the Saudi public investment fund, Yasir Al Rumayya will join Uber’s board, which would add a Middle Eastern government voice on the hottest tech firms in the Silicon Valley.

Among the prominent names on Uber’s board currently are co-founders Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, Alphabet chief legal officer David Drummond, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Benchmark partner Bill Gurley, TPG Capital founding partner David Bonderman, and others.

At its end, Uber has said that it would use the large investment to further pursue its international expansion in the region and outside.

Experts have however cast aspersions on the deal, claiming that Saudi still remains the only country in the world where female drivers are banned. Meanwhile, many believe that the strategic move on the part of the Saudi government would work well for the country that is planning to reduce its reliance on oil.

In the joint statement issued by Uber and the Saudi Government, both the parties claimed that the technology startup could help bring some reforms to the country.

Uber CEO Travis Kalanick said in the official statement, “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.”

Uber had launched its services in Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh two years ago. Currently, Uber operates in 15 cities with 19,000 drivers and 395,000 passengers in the MENA region. In 2015, the tech firm had announced its plans to dedicate $250 million to expand in the region.

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