Ruzwana Bashir (born 28 July 1983) is a British entrepreneur, founder and CEO of Peek.com, a travel company based in San Francisco, California. She has been selected for Vanity Fair's Next Establishment, Forbes 30 Under 30 list on Technology and Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People.
Bashir worked in private equity at the Blackstone Group and in investment banking at Goldman Sachs in London. She then worked at Gilt Groupe, and was part of the founding team at Art.sy in New York.
In 2012, Bashir founded Peek, a marketplace for travelers and locals to book activities in holiday destinations. Peek, where Bashir is CEO, has received financing by investors including Eric Schmidt, Jack Dorsey, and David Bonderman. Bashir met Peek’s co-founder and chief technology officer, Oskar Bruening, in New York and by the end of the day they decided to start a company together. In November 2013, Bashir announced that Peek developed Peek Pro, a suite of backend tools to help tour operators run their businesses, and in December 2013, Peek launched a mobile app version of its site.
In 2014, Peek announced that it had raised $5 million in new funding. Since founding Peek.com, Bashir has been cited as one of the most powerful women in technology alongside Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer. In 2014, she was named one of the Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs by Fortune, one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times and one of Glamour's "35 Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry." That same year, Peek was named one of the Top 50 Websites of 2014 by Time and one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel by Fast Company.
Bashir was elected as President of the university's Oxford Union debating society. During her tenure as President, Bashir's guest speakers included Senator John McCain, Michael Heseltine, Norman Lamont, Kenneth Clarke, John Redwood, David Trimble, Tom Ford, Hans Blix, and José María Aznar. In 2004, Bashir met Boris Johnson (himself a former President of the Union), and in October Johnson visited Oxford to speak at a debate entitled "This House has No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government."
Bashir was elected in March 2004, beating James Forsyth. She faced a tribunal, accused of irregular canvassing, in the shape of courting votes in her college on polling day. Friends of Bashir commented that the opposition to her was really "because of the colour of her skin and because she is a Muslim". The tribunal found Forsyth guilty of electoral malpractice. The Guardian commented that "Frivolous complaints have become the raison d'être of the Oxford Union", and subsequently the electoral rules of the Union were changed, so that others would not fall foul of the same problem.
Bashir was reported in 2009 to be dating actor Toby Kebbell. Bashir and Kebbell met at a Christmas party. They were pictured together in the Daily Mirror and in February 2009 attended the 62nd British Academy Film Awards event together.
On 29 August 2014, Bashir wrote an article in The Guardian in which she told her story as a survivor of sexual abuse. Bashir’s article was published in light of the 2014 investigations into the sexual abuse of 1,400 children in Rotherham, England between 1997 and 2013. Bashir cited the underreporting of abuse in the British-Pakistani community and the taboos around shame that perpetuates it. She calls upon the communities to give victims the support they need to come forward and bring the perpetrators to justice.
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- Bashir, Ruzwana. "The untold story of how a culture of shame perpetuates abuse. I know, I was a victim". Retrieved 9 May 2014.
- Smith, Lydia. "Rotherham Child Sex Abuse: Only One South Yorkshire Police Grooming Investigation Led to Convictions". Retrieved 9 May 2014.
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