Sign up to receive 5 free days of our daily summary for tech news.

Read this article for free.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Venture Capital Uber/Lyft

Saudi’s Uber and Tesla Investor Thrust Into Crisis

The murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia's consulate in Turkey has sparked soul-searching among U.S. tech companies that have accepted investment money from Saudi Arabia’s investment fund, most notably through SoftBank’s Vision Fund. And it threatens efforts by Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the mild-mannered managing director of the Saudi fund, to build the fund’s profile and make new tech investments.

Mr. Al-Rumayyan, who this week presided over the polarizing Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh, which was once dubbed “Davos in the desert,” has emerged as a hugely important tech investor over the past two years. He has developed ties with CEOs of numerous high-profile public and private companies in the West, from Elon Musk to Richard Branson to Travis Kalanick, now the former CEO of Uber. Mr. Al-Rumayyan was the Saudi investor who met with Mr. Musk this summer to discuss the Saudi fund possibly backing a buyout of Tesla, a deal that didn’t get far but led to an SEC inquiry into Mr. Musk’s tweets. More significant is the Saudi fund’s $45 billion commitment to the Vision Fund, which has since taken sizable positions in Uber, General Motors’ Cruise autonomous vehicle unit, and WeWork, which rents office space. The Saudi fund also holds a direct stake in Uber, thanks to a $3.5 billion investment made in 2016.

What Is The Information?

Notebook b5103017ee163370a1667c9ce59ab0ef023875a17888105d26c185cadf31bb69

Daily news analysis

Every weeknight, we'll send you our reporters’ views on the day’s top tech news—distilled into one email.

Notes bb3aa5069205d702dda37fc71dc6f1c59df2310c4379304e9f1199f052af4884

Exclusive Articles

We broke it first. Receive original reporting, stories, and exclusives you won't read anywhere else from the largest newsroom in tech.

Conference calls c9e664e8b96ee347d3e92b8309938f268422b9db98cfabca5c826fbb75054b23

Conference calls

Go deep into areas like crypto and VC diversity—or get real-time analysis of breaking news—via conference calls with our reporters and other experts.

Events 499acedd16cffc41445edd76bfd302b2836c2a27419890f17130a6b10e2aa3df

Special Events

For no extra fee, subscribers get access to more than a dozen events yearly, from intimate dinners to larger gatherings with marquee speakers.

Access the best reporting on the tech industry read by tens of thousands of global executives.

Become a contributor

Share your views and find other subscribers by completing your profile. You’ll be listed in our contributor directory.

Org Charts

Access the only collection of tech company org charts. Our expanding database includes companies like Amazon, Snap, and Uber.

Slack community

Discuss topics and current events with our subscriber-only Slack group and share news about your company with other subscribers.

Share with your team

Subscribers can unlock any article and share it with friends and co-workers through a special share link.

Stay up to date on Silicon Valley

Sign up for Jessica Lessin’s (The Information’s CEO & Founder) free Saturday newsletter and also receive a complimentary week of our daily afternoon tech commentary email.

Already a subscriber? Log in here

Recent Articles

Venture Capital Startups Markets

Private Tech Surge Fuels Unicorn Stock Indexes

By Alfred Lee

Crypto Uber/Lyft

Is Uber Cash a Crypto Play?

By Sam Lessin

Uber/Lyft E-commerce

Uber Sees Strong Growth in Asia’s Food Delivery Market

By Juro Osawa and Wayne Ma

Uber/Lyft

What Lyft’s Internal Numbers Show

By Amir Efrati

Mr. Al-Rumayyan was “a little bit bewildered by what’s going on.”