Uber Gets Surprising $3.5 Billion Infusion From Saudi Arabia

Uber has received its biggest infusion yet from a single investor, in the form of $3.5 Billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. We are talking about the kingdom’s leading investment fund, which has decided to grant the private start-up with its largest investment ever.
Uber driver and passenger during a fare 1 photo
Photo: Uber
The new funding did not cause the departure of Uber’s existing investors, and promises a new area of expansion for the ride-hailing app that currently serves 463 cities.

In the meantime, Saudi Arabia is investing in several directions to improve employment and reduce its dependence on oil. Naturally, the money spent is probably made from oil, but they want to make even more money from other sources.

On the employment side, Uber might not be their best bet, as the American company is known for not hiring drivers, but considering them contractors for tax reasons.

Since its inception, Uber has collected over $11 billion from investors, says the New York Times. The corporation does a new funding round about every six months, and the revenues it raised have changed the industry. In the start-up world, Uber is what specialists call a “unicorn,” which is a start-up that gets billions of dollars in funding.

Fortunately for investors, it survived its first years, but many challenges await it, especially with the growing number of protests against it, as well as outright bans in several cities.

Uber wants to invest $250 Million in its operation in Saudi Arabia, where 80% of their riders are women. However, the percentage of the female drivers is extremely low if existent, as the country’s religious laws bans women from driving.

The American company has stated it has no problem with getting Saudi women to drive Uber cars, but time will tell if Saudi Arabia will have the power to change its deeply religious social rules that forbid women to drive. After all, the country wants to double the number of employed females by 2030, when it hopes that 30% of the workforce will consist of women.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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