Uber Drivers Sleep in Cars – Co-Founder Spends Money He Earned Fair-and-Square

As Drivers Live in Their Cars Due to Poverty Wages, Uber Co-Founder Buys Record-Breaking $72.5 Million Mansion

NEWS FLASH – most of the “news” about the rideshare industry is negative… don’t believe me? - search the internet and find three or more news articles with “Uber” or “Lyft” in the headline that are saying anything positive

The referenced article for today’s blog post is not the first report in the news suggesting it’s unfair or at least unseemly that Uber co-founder Garrett Camp recently purchased a home in Beverly Hills, California for $72.5 million dollars.

source: Wikimedia

None of the news articles I’ve read… articles reporting Mr. Camp’s recent home purchase… point out that Uber is not Mr. Camp’s first business venture and it appears he’s been at least a multi-millionaire since at least 2007.

Uber went public this year, 2019, and ten years previous, 2009, Mr. Camp personally provided Uber’s first investment, $250,000 to get Uber off the ground. 

That’s right Garrett Camp not only co-founded Uber with his ideas, intellect, experience, and hard work, it was Mr. Camp’s personal investment that paid the first round of office bills.

And Garrett Camp’s enormous net worth happened before Uber’s initial public stock offering.

Garrett Camp - Billionaire Before Uber Went Public

From Wikipedia:

“In 2015, he [Camp] was the 283rd-richest person in the world and the third-richest Canadian, with an estimated wealth of US $5.3 billion according to Forbes.”


In 2015 Garrett Camp was the third-richest Canadian with an estimated net worth of around 5.3 billion dollars?!!! 

You mean he was already a billionaire years before Uber’s stock went public?!!! 


Ok yes, I’m being sarcastic… but only to help make a point.

Garrett Camp - One Smart Cookie

Garrett Camp earned a bachelors degree in electrical engineering and a master's degree in software engineering, researching collaborative systems, evolutionary algorithms and information retrieval. 

These aren’t honorary degrees, Garret Camp went to college, studied, and earned them.

In 2002 (9 years before Uber) Mr. Camp co-founded another startup company, StumbleUpon, which was acquired by eBay for $75M in 2007.  I think it’s safe to say Mr. Camp worked some long days and nights on this venture and as the co-founder pocketed a sizable chunk of the $75 million sale price?

According to Wikipedia Garrett Camp has invested in at least six start-ups not including Uber… he probably earned a buck or two from these investments?

So, let’s break this “outrageous” home purchase story down a bit:

  • In 2019 Garrett Camp purchased a mansion in Beverly Hills for $72.5 million dollars, the same year as Uber’s initial public stock offering
  • In 2015 Mr. Camp was worth 5.3 billion dollars four years before Uber’s stock hit the public market
  • This means the home Camp recently purchased, months after Uber’s IPO, cost less than 2% of Camp’s 2015 net worth.

Personally, I hope Mr. Camp and family are enjoying the new Beverly Hills digs and aren’t too bothered by news reports like the article referenced for this blog post.

Of the multiple news articles I’ve read about Garret Camp’s recent home purchase this one goes beyond suggesting, inferring, and implying that Camp shouldn’t be enjoying the life he earned through hard work, natural talent, and smart investing.

Uber Drivers Sleeping in Cars

This article all but accuses Mr. Camp of personally exploiting Uber drivers and that Camp is personally responsible for some drivers living in their cars.

“Uber drivers, many of whom are homeless due to the $82-billion company's notoriously low rates, reacted to the Camp's purchase with outrage, describing it as a striking encapsulation of how the wealthiest Americans live in luxury on the backs of exploited workers.”

What’s ticking me off about these news stories is the fact that Uber provides an opportunity to earn income… you wouldn’t think it from reading news articles like this one… but the opportunity Uber provides to earn income more or less on your own terms… is not evil exploitation of people unable to earn income in other ways… the opportunity Uber provides is a good thing!

Exploitation - Or Freedom of Choice?

And the whole venture is based on choice… drivers choose to drive and earn what Uber pays… passengers choose to request trips and pay what Uber charges… on both sides of the equation people could make different choices and Uber, Lyft, and the other TNCs (transportation network company) would fade away into history.

Uber doesn’t hire drivers and say “We are going to teach you how to run your own rideshare driving business and guarantee you will earn…”

  • Uber drivers make the choice to sign up and qualify to be drivers
  • Drivers make the choice when to work
  • Drivers make a choice what kind of vehicle they will drive
  • After they sign up and qualify many drivers continue to make the choice to earn income with a “gig” that is without question more a business opportunity rather than traditional job

At any point drivers could make a different choice but the choice some drivers are making is blaming Uber for “exploiting them” while they continue to drive… seriously?  

You could walk away and do something else but instead you keep completing passenger trips at the same time complaining as if you have no choice? 

And for whatever reason mainstream media loves these stories and amplifies the voices of a statistically small sample of the hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers in America and has created the popular myth that Uber and its founders are “evil.”

I’m wondering where are the news articles zooming in on the founders of other successful business ventures and accusing those founders of ruining the lives of their workers?

Fast food workers, convenience store cashiers, construction crew, and countless other workers are also struggling to pay the rent too… all jobs where the companies hired them because the companies needed that many workers to run their businesses. 

These companies promised the new workers how much they would be paid per hour. 

These companies told the new workers how many hours per week they could count on.

Maybe it’s a lot harder for mainstream media to make the case that “traditional job” workers didn’t realize that they would be struggling to pay the rent given how much they would be paid for these traditional jobs?

If we believe mainstream media Uber is the only company on the planet bringing back the days of America’s robber-barons exploiting workers with company owners and executives living “high on the hog” at the expense of people who don’t have other choices to earn income. 

The reality today is there are a lot of available jobs, there are a lot of income-earning choices other than driving for Uber or Lyft.

Mainstream media today would have us all “suspend our disbelief” as if we were going to see the latest action-adventure movie… but I have a hard time believing that most people don’t “get it” that living paycheck to paycheck and struggling to pay the rent is not a state of living exclusive to being an Uber driver or Lyft driver.

I’ve been closely following mainstream media’s coverage of the rideshare industry phenomena for over three years… and most days it feels like I’m the just a small voice “shouting in the wilderness” that being a rideshare driver is a viable way to earn meaningful income… and that rideshare drivers like me made a choice to drive and continue to make that choice every time we get out on the road to earn.

As Drivers Live in Their Cars Due to Poverty Wages, Uber Co-Founder Buys Record-Breaking $72.5 Million Mansion


Uber Drivers Sleep in Cars – Co-Founder Spends Money He Earned Fair-and-Square