Ruzwana Bashir

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Ruzwana Bashir, photographed by Christopher Michel, May 2014

Ruzwana Bashir (born 28 July 1983) is a British entrepreneur, founder and CEO of, a travel company based in San Francisco, California. She has been selected for Vanity Fair's Next Establishment,[1] Forbes 30 Under 30 list on Technology[2] and Fast Company's 100 Most Creative People.[3]


Bashir was born in Skipton and attended Skipton Girls' High School in North Yorkshire.[4] She then went to Oxford University, where she became President of the Oxford Union.[5][5][6]

After Oxford University, Bashir was a Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard Business School where she obtained an MBA.[7][8]

Business career[edit]

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 in New York.[9][10]

In 2012, Bashir founded Peek, a marketplace for travelers and locals to book activities in holiday destinations.[11] Peek, where Bashir is CEO, has received financing by investors including Eric Schmidt, Jack Dorsey, and David Bonderman.[12] 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.[13] In November 2013, Bashir announced that Peek developed Peek Pro, a suite of backend tools to help tour operators run their businesses,[14] and in December 2013, Peek launched a mobile app version of its site.[15]

In 2014, Peek announced that it had raised $5 million in new funding.[16] Since founding, Bashir has been cited as one of the most powerful women in technology alongside Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer.[17] In 2014, she was named one of the Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs by Fortune,[18] one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times[19] and one of Glamour's "35 Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry."[20] That same year, Peek was named one of the Top 50 Websites of 2014 by Time[21] and one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel by Fast Company.[22]

Oxford career[edit]

Bashir attended New College at Oxford University to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[5][6]

Bashir was elected as President of the university's Oxford Union debating society.[4][23][24] 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.[25] In 2004, Bashir met Boris Johnson (himself a former President of the Union),[26] 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.[6][23][24] Friends of Bashir commented that the opposition to her was really "because of the colour of her skin and because she is a Muslim".[27] The tribunal found Forsyth guilty of electoral malpractice.[6][23] The Guardian commented that "Frivolous complaints have become the raison d'être of the Oxford Union",[24] and subsequently the electoral rules of the Union were changed, so that others would not fall foul of the same problem.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Bashir was reported in 2009 to be dating actor Toby Kebbell. Bashir and Kebbell met at a Christmas party.[28] They were pictured together in the Daily Mirror[29] and in February 2009 attended the 62nd British Academy Film Awards event together.[30]

On 29 August 2014, Bashir wrote an article in The Guardian[31] 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.[32] 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.[33]


  1. ^ Chafkin, Max. "The Next Establishment". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on 18 August 2014. Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  2. ^ Barret, Victoria (17 December 2012). "Forbes 30 Under 30 in Tech". Forbes. Retrieved 22 January 2013.
  3. ^ Chafkin, Max. "Most Creative People". Retrieved 28 August 2014.
  4. ^ a b Obscure law costs Ruzwana top post, from the Telegraph & Argus, first published 27 January 2004, at Archived 20 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ a b c Ihsan Islam, HISTORY MAN: Abandoning Cambridge for Oxford' in Daily Times of Pakistan, 15 October 2004, online
  6. ^ a b c d Stewart Payne, Asian woman picked to lead Oxford Union, dated 12 March 2004 at
  7. ^ Ruzwana Bashir at, accessed 1 April 2011 Archived 17 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ More Fulbright Awards for 2009/10 at
  9. ^ London Student Housing Conference Archived 22 April 2009 at the Wayback Machine. at
  10. ^ Gianluca Longo, 'The newboy', in Evening Standard (London), 6 February 2009, p. 28
  11. ^ Graham, Jefferson (20 December 2012). "Start-up travel site offers a Peek at hidden gems". USA Today. Retrieved 24 January 2013.
  12. ^ Swartz, Jon (11 October 2012). "New travel site Peek backed by Dorsey, Schmidt". Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  13. ^ Bashir, Ruzwana. "ENTER THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: MEMENTOS OF MUSEUM-GOING". Style. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  14. ^ "Speakers". PhoCusWright. Archived from the original on 4 September 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
  15. ^ Lawler, Ryan (2013-12-12). "Travel Site Peek Goes Mobile, Launches An iOS App For Booking Aspirational Experiences On The Go". Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  16. ^ De La Merced, Michael J. (3 May 2014). " Raises $5 Million in New Financing". Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  17. ^ "Most Powerful Women in Tech". Retrieved 9 April 2013.
  18. ^ Leahey, Colleen (9 April 2014). "Winners of the 2014 Fortune Most Promising Entrepreneurs contest". Retrieved 2014-09-20.
  19. ^ "2014 Influential Women". San Francisco Business Times.
  20. ^ Fenn, Donna (10 January 2014). "35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry". Retrieved 10 June 2014.
  21. ^ Aamoth, Doug; Newman, Jared (8 January 2014). "50 Best Websites 2014". Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  22. ^ "The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel". 8 January 2014. Retrieved 10 January 2014.
  23. ^ a b c Toby Moore, Racism? No, just brutal politics, article dated 12 March 2004 at
  24. ^ a b c d 'What the toffs did next' in The Guardian, 11 March 2004, online
  25. ^ Suzy Menkes, Tom Ford works his charm on students at Oxford Union in The New York Times dated 16 November 2004, online
  26. ^ Tim Shipman, "Secrets of the Boris Johnson Dossier", The Sunday Times, dated 9 September 2018
  27. ^ 'LA DONNA DELL'ANNO' at (in Italian) Archived 22 August 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  28. ^ Marianne Macdonald, Toby Kebbell: the new boy Archived 23 March 2009 at the Wayback Machine. dated 9 February 2009 at
  29. ^ Bafta Dresses at 8 February 2009
  30. ^ Toby Kebbell and Ruzwana Bashir at
  31. ^ Bashir, Ruzwana. "The untold story of how a culture of shame perpetuates abuse. I know, I was a victim". Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  32. ^ Smith, Lydia. "Rotherham Child Sex Abuse: Only One South Yorkshire Police Grooming Investigation Led to Convictions". Retrieved 9 May 2014.
  33. ^ "Ruzwana Bashir: 'Not victims, they're survivors'". Retrieved 9 May 2014.

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