7 people you never realised were early investors in Uber

GettyThere are a lot of eyes on Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi ahead of the company’s rumoured $US120 billion IPO.
  • Uber is prepping for a 2019 IPO – at a rumoured $US120 billion valuation.
  • Its last funding round valued the company at $US68 billion. But in 2010, 32 different investors bought a chunk of the company for much less.
  • Uber’s seed round valued that company at just $US3.86 million.
  • These are seven of Uber’s most surprising seed investors.

If Uber goes public as planned in 2019, nine years and billions of dollars worth of investments will be returned to investors smart enough – or lucky enough – to have made a bet on the company’s success.

But some of those investors are luckier than others.

Investors in its most recent round, a $US1.25 billion Series G1 led by SoftBank, bought their shares at a $US68.33 billion valuation. But it was just nine years ago that Uber raised a $US1.57 million seed funding round, which valued the company at $US3.86 million.

That means investors who bought a chunk of Uber in 2010 will see much larger returns now that the company is valued by bankers at a rumoured $US120 billion.

There were 32 investors in Uber’s seed funding round, which was led by First Round Capital, with participation from venture capital firms Founder Collective, Lowercase Capital, and Kapor Capital.

But that total also included dozens of individuals who made the history-altering decision to participate in Uber’s earliest raise, according to data compiled from PitchBook.

These are seven people you never knew had a stake in Uber’s planned 2019 IPO:


1. Lady Gaga’s former manager

Getty Images

Troy Carter had a busy career managing A-list musical talent like Lady Gaga and John Legend before joining Spotify as its global head of creator services.

He left Spotify in September to focus on his talent management and production company, Atom Factory.

But if all goes as planned, he may never have to work another day of his life.


2. The CEO of Amazon

Getty

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon, is already a multi-billionaire who invested early in startups like Google, Domo, Airbnb, and (yours truly) Business Insider.

A big exit on his early Uber investment will make him that much richer.


3. The CEO of Airbnb

Mike Windle/Getty Images

Airbnb cofounder and CEO – and early Uber investor – Brian Chesky is prepping for his own IPO in 2019.


4. A street-kid-turned-emerging-tech-savant

Founders Fund

Cyan Banister, a partner at Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, has spoken publicly about her astonishing transformation from living on the streets as a teenager to making multi-million dollar investments in the future of tech.

She invested in Uber as an angel investor long before joining a VC firm.


5. A “Planet of the Apps” star

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images for Pencils Of Promise

Gary Vaynerchuk made his millions by growing the family wine business into a success. But he became famous for launching media companies VaynerMedia and VaynerX.

While his most recent public project was the reality TV show “Planet of the Apps,” which he starred on along side will.i.am and Gwyneth Paltrow, Uber’s big exit could be the biggest day of his life.


6. Twitter’s favourite tech oracle and the founder of AngelList

Steve Jennings/Getty

Naval Ravikant – known to some by his Twitter handle, @Naval – is an influential voice in the startup scene, in part because he founded AngelList, a website dedicated to matching startups with investors like himself. So it’s no wonder he was a seed investor in Uber.


7. A member of the PayPal Mafia

David Sacks was a founding COO at PayPal, so when it got acquired by eBay, he became a member of the PayPal Mafia – ex-PayPal employees who used their new money to invest in startups or launch their own, thus creating a whole new wave of tech.

Though Sacks went on to found Yammer and work as an interim CEO at Zenefits, he also used some of that cash to fund part of Uber’s seed round.

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