Uber’s Latest PR Nightmare by PitchBook
The Saudi government played a role in 9/11. Declassified documents released Friday by the U.S. Congress provide damning revelations about the nature and extent of that role—no doubt significant news on its own. However, the Saudi government has also backed the highest-valued startup on the planet, and that fact makes this a live issue for said company.
In June, Uber added $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As part of the deal, Yasir Al Rumayyan, one of the fund’s MDs, joined Uber’s board of directors. The company has already caught some flak over the investment, with some making the uncomfortable observation that, quite simply, the optics look a bit off for a ridesharing company to take money from a government that heavily restricts the rights of women, including very prominently the right to drive. Hopefully, Uber reads the documents, dubbed “28 pages,” and has something to say.