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Ruzwana Bashir

Ruzwana Bashir, photographed by Christopher Michel

Ruzwana Bashir (born 28 July 1983) is a British businesswoman, 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 in Technology [2] and Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People.[3]


  • Education 1
  • Business career 2
  • Oxford career 3
  • Personal life 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6


Bashir was born in Skipton and attended Skipton Girls' High School in North Yorkshire.[4][5] She then went to Oxford University, where she became President of the Oxford Union.[6][6][7]

After Oxford University, Ruzwana was a Fulbright Scholar at the Harvard Business School where she obtained an MBA.[8][9]

Business career

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.[10][11]

In 2012, Bashir founded Peek, a marketplace for travelers and locals to book activities in holiday destinations.[12] Peek, where Bashir is acting as CEO, has received financing by investors including Eric Schmidt, Jack Dorsey, and David Bonderman.[13] 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.[14] In November 2013, Ruzwana announced that Peek developed Peek Pro, a suite of backend tools to help tour operators run their businesses,[15] and in December 2013, Peek launched a mobile app version of its site.[16]

In 2014, Peek announced that it raised $5 million in new funding.[17] Since founding, Bashir has been cited as one of the most powerful women in technology alongside Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer.[18] In 2014, she was named one of the Most Promising Women Entrepreneurs by Fortune,[19] one of the Most Influential Women in Business by the San Francisco Business Times [20] and one of Glamour’s “35 Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry.” [21] That same year, Peek was named one of the Top 50 Websites of 2014 by TIME [22] and one of the World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel by Fast Company.[23]

Oxford career

Ruzwana attended New College at Oxford University to read Philosophy, Politics and Economics.[6][7]

Bashir was elected as President of the university's Oxford Union debating society.[4][24][25][26] 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.[27][28] In 2004, Ruzwana met Boris Johnson (himself a former President of the Union),[28] and in October Johnson visited Oxford to speak at a debate entitled “This House has No Confidence in Her Majesty’s Government”.[29]

Ruzwana 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.[7][25][26] Friends of Bashir commented that the opposition to her was really "because of the colour of her skin and because she is a Muslim".[30] The tribunal found Forsyth guilty of electoral malpractice.[7][25] 'The Guardian commented that "Frivolous complaints have become the raison d'être of the Oxford Union",[26] and subsequently the electoral rules of the Union were changed, so that others would not fall foul of the same problem.[26] The Mail on Sunday called the battle "one of the dirtiest political scraps the hallowed quadrangles of Oxford University have ever witnessed" and asked "Will this Asian girl be the next Maggie?"[5]

Personal life

Bashir was reported in 2009 to be the girlfriend of BAFTA-nominated actor Toby Kebbell. Bashir and Kebbell met at a Christmas party.[31] They were pictured together in the Daily Mirror[32] and in February 2009 attended the 62nd British Academy Film Awards event together.[33]

On August 29, 2014, Bashir wrote an article in The Guardian [34] in which she told her story as a survivor of sexual abuse. Bashir’s article was published in light of 2014 investigations into the sexual abuse of 1,400 children in Rotherham, England between 1997 and 2013.[35] Ruzwana 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.[36]


  1. ^ Chafkin, Max. "The Next Establishment". Vanity Fair. 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
  5. ^ a b James Tapper, Keith Beabey, Will this Asian girl be the next Maggie? in The Mail on Sunday dated 14 March 2004
  6. ^ a b c Ihsan Islam, HISTORY MAN: Abandoning Cambridge for Oxford' in Daily Times of Pakistan, 15 October 2004, online
  7. ^ a b c d Stewart Payne, Asian woman picked to lead Oxford Union, dated 12 March 2004 at
  8. ^ Ruzwana Bashir at, accessed 1 April 2011
  9. ^ More Fulbright Awards for 2009/10 at
  10. ^ London Student Housing Conference at
  11. ^ Gianluca Longo, 'The newboy', in Evening Standard (London), 6 February 2009, p. 28
  12. ^ Graham, Jefferson (20 December 2012). "Start-up travel site offers a Peek at hidden gems". USA Today. Retrieved 24 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Swartz, Jon (11 October 2012). "New travel site Peek backed by Dorsey, Schmidt". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  14. ^ Bashir, Ruzwana. "ENTER THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP: MEMENTOS OF MUSEUM-GOING". Style. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Speakers". PhoCusWright. Retrieved 3 September 2014. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ De La Merced, Michael J. (3/5/2014). " Raises $5 Million in New Financing". Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  18. ^ "Most Powerful Women in Tech". Retrieved 9 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Leahey, Colleen (9/4/2014). "Winners of the 2014 Fortune Most Promising Entrepreneurs contest". Retrieved 2014-09-20. 
  20. ^ "2014 Influential Women". San Francisco Business Times. 
  21. ^ Fenn, Donna (10/1/2014). "35 Women Under 35 Who Are Changing the Tech Industry". Retrieved 10/6/2014. 
  22. ^ Aamoth, Doug; Newman, Jared (8/1/2014). "50 Best Websites 2014". Retrieved 10/1/2014. 
  23. ^ "The World’s Top 10 Most Innovative Companies in Travel". 8/1/2014. Retrieved 10/1/2014. 
  24. ^ Richard Kay, Coup what a scorcher!, article dated 14 January 2004 at
  25. ^ a b c Toby Moore, Racism? No, just brutal politics, article dated 12 March 2004 at
  26. ^ a b c d 'What the toffs did next' in The Guardian, 11 March 2004, online
  27. ^ Suzy Menkes, Tom Ford works his charm on students at Oxford Union in The New York Times dated 16 November 2004, online
  28. ^ a b Katie Nicholl, 'Boris's Union with His Pal From Oxford' in Mail on Sunday dated 29 August 2004
  29. ^ Did Oxford girl turn Boris's head? in Daily Mail dated 17 October 2004
  30. ^ 'LA DONNA DELL'ANNO' at (in Italian)
  31. ^ Marianne Macdonald, Toby Kebbell: the new boy dated 9 February 2009 at
  32. ^ Bafta Dresses at 8 February 2009
  33. ^ Toby Kebbell and Ruzwana Bashir at
  34. ^ Bashir, Ruzwana. "The untold story of how a culture of shame perpetuates abuse. I know, I was a victim". Retrieved 9/5/2014. 
  35. ^ Smith, Lydia. "Rotherham Child Sex Abuse: Only One South Yorkshire Police Grooming Investigation Led to Convictions". Retrieved 9/5/2014. 
  36. ^ "'"Ruzwana Bashir: 'Not victims, they're survivors. Retrieved 9/5/2014. 

External links

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