Uber Raises US$3.5b From Saudi Fund
Ride-sharing giant, Uber is about to get even bigger with new funding of US$3.5 billion (RM14.55 billion) from the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, which will help fuel its global expansion plans.
According to the company, terms of the investment give what was already one of the largest venture-funded start-ups a valuation, or implied value, of US$62.5 billion (RM259.94 billion).
The deal comes as Saudi Arabia strives to diversify its economy away from reliance on oil production to include more entrepreneurship, open markets and productivity.
The new funding will contribute to Uber’s global expansion plans, including in the Middle East and North Africa, which the company sees as among its fastest-growing regions.
In addition to the investment, which will boost Uber’s cash holdings to over US$11 billion (RM45.74 billion), the head of the Saudi fund, Yasir Al Rumayyan, is joining the Uber board.
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“We appreciate the vote of confidence in our business as we continue to expand our global presence,” Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick said in a 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.”
Rumayyan added that the plan fits with the kingdom’s Vision 2030, the blueprint for diversifying its economy away from oil.
Meanwhile, Uber says that the company is committed to investing US$250 million (RM1.03 billion) in the region, which includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Bahrain, Qatar and Morocco.
The company explained that the service can help improve mobility for women, who comprises 80% of their clientele in Saudi Arabia as they cannot drive in the country and typically avoid public taxis.