In December 2014, Uber held its annual holiday party on an unfurnished floor at its swank, mood-lit headquarters in San Francisco. Employees and investors attended in flamboyant attire from the “Roaring ‘20s” and drank at an open bar into the early morning hours. Venture capitalist Shervin Pishevar, several attendees recall, brought a live pony on a leash.
Pishevar, an early backer of the ride-hailing company who was a board observer at the time, allegedly did something else memorable that night. According to current and former colleagues with knowledge of the events that evening, the then 40-year old investor approached Austin Geidt, Uber’s 30-year-old head of global expansion, placed his hand on her leg and moved it up her dress. Geidt squirmed away, the colleagues say.
It was not the first time Pishevar had made advances toward Geidt, which she declined to reciprocate, according to the colleagues. Geidt joined Uber Technologies Inc. as an intern in 2010. She was soon tasked with launching Uber in new cities, where Pishevar, a major Democratic Party donor, offered valuable political and business connections.