Olivia Munn tells PEOPLE her 2011 investment in the ride-sharing app "seemed like a no-brainer"

By Nick Maslow Matt McNulty
May 09, 2019 04:58 PM
J. Merritt/Getty; John Lamparski/WireImage; Phillip Faraone/Getty

In one of the largest IPOs in the history of tech, Uber is set to go public on the New York Stock Exchange on Friday — and celebrities are among the investors who might see their net worths soar.

As it seeks to raise $9 billion, the ride-hailing app’s initial public stock offering could bring a valuation in excess of $91 billion, the Associated Press reported Wednesday.

That could mean big bucks for the investors who got in early after the app was founded in 2009, including some familiar faces: Ashton Kutcher, Beyoncé and JAY-Z, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jared Leto, Olivia Munn, Edward Norton and Lance Armstrong have all been linked to the company as shareholders in a new Forbes report.

Kutcher, 41, was one of the first major celebrities to invest in the ride-sharing app, putting up $500,000 alongside music manager Guy Oseary, 46, in one of the first fundraising rounds back in 2011.

“You’re not even actually taking on the taxi companies — you’re taking on the notion of owning a car,” Kutcher told Forbes in a 2016 cover story. “That’s crazy. And that’s why it has the velocity and potential that it has.” (Kutcher’s rep declined PEOPLE’s request for comment about the IPO, while a rep for Oseary did not immediately respond.)

Asked about her involvement as a shareholder, Munn told PEOPLE in a statement on Thursday, “I still have all of my stake in Uber.”

“I invested in Uber in December 2011 when it was only about 7,000 cars and $1.8 million in net revenue and only in a few cities,” said the actress, 38. “It was the first investment I ever made because it seemed like a no-brainer. Push a button and get a car to show up in minutes? It sounded like a way to revolutionize the idea of having to own your own car, and I think it has.”

RELATED: Uber Reveals the 25 Most Outrageous Foods That Have Been Left in a Driver’s Car 

Forbes reports Paltrow, 46, and JAY-Z, 49 — reps for whom did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment — confirmed their investments in Uber.

Beyoncé, 37, was paid $6 million in restricted stock units by former Uber CEO and co-founder Travis Kalanick, 42, to perform at a company event in Las Vegas in 2015, according to the New York Times. (Reps for Beyoncé and Uber did not immediately return PEOPLE’s requests for comment.)

For Armstrong, a $100,000 investment in Chris Sacca’s firm Lowercase Capital, most of which went to Uber about a decade ago, has proven to be a game-changer.

“It’s saved our family,” Armstrong, 47, told CNBC in December. (Armstrong was banned from the sport of cycling after he admitted to doping in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, costing him millions in endorsements and lawsuit settlements.)

CNBC reported Armstrong declined to specify the worth of his investment, which he characterized as “too good to be true,” but Bloomberg estimated at the time that a $100,000 investment would have netted Armstrong about $20 million. (Armstrong declined to comment about the IPO, according to Forbes, and his rep did not immediately return PEOPLE’s request for comment.)

As for the leading Hollywood men who reportedly invested in Uber, a rep for DiCaprio, 44, did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment, and a rep for Norton, 49, declined to comment.

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty

The news comes amidst a backdrop of Uber drivers striking in protest of the impending public offering, with some drivers picketing in front of Uber’s San Francisco headquarters.

Uber driver and protester Mostafa Maklad told TechCrunch that the drivers themselves are working under untenable circumstances.

“Uber year after year keeps cutting the rate and how much money they pay to drivers year after year… you have to drive between 70 to 80 hours a week to make even a little less than how much money I used to,” Maklad said. “They put a lot of stress on us drivers to drive a lot of hours in order to make money. If you don’t, you can’t make money and it’s not going to be worth it.”

Uber’s IPO will offer some drivers bonuses, but protesters say it pales in comparison to the money investors and executives are set to make from the public offering.

“All of us are not happy,” said Maklad, “not just with the award, but with the way they treat drivers.”

“Drivers are at the heart of our service, and we can’t succeed without them,” an Uber spokesperson tells PEOPLE. “We’ll continue working to improve drivers’ experience for and with them, every day.”

Advertisement


EDIT POST