Uber becomes super-Uber with Saudi investors pumping in billions of dollars, thereby betting big on the ride-hailing business. In a fresh round of funding, Uber has raised $3.5 billion from Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund. The investment maintains Uber’s valuation at $62.5 billion, highest in the tech industry.
According to Uber, the influx makes it ride on a huge amount of cash and convertible debt of more than $11 billion, thereby supporting its international expansion. Uber’s Managing Director Yasir Al Rumayyan decides to join the board as a result of the investment.
The investment also supports Uber’s growth agenda for the Middle East. The company had plans to invest $250 million in the region, with its operations in 15 cities across nine countries: Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. According to Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick, “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.”
The investment comes in wake of Saudi Arabian sovereign fund’s efforts to reduce dependence on oil and promote entrepreneurship. According to Uber, the maximum demand comes from women who can’t otherwise drive on their own. “We’ve seen first-hand how this company has improved urban mobility around the world and we’re looking forward to being part of that progress,” Al Rumayyan told an online daily.