Geidt's rise is that of Silicon Valley legend. She was the fourth employee at Uber and has filled several roles during her time with the company. She's been open about her battle with drug addiction and recovery, and has been sober since she was 20.
Here's how the former intern cold-emailed her way into one of the biggest startups in Silicon Valley as told in a Fortune interview from 2015, except where otherwise noted.
Austin Geidt’s journey to Wall Street wasn’t easy or predictable. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010 amid an uncertain job market following the 2008 recession when she was 25 years old.
Geidt has been open about her struggles with drug addiction and her time in rehab when she was 19. "I had a drug addiction. I got sober. I'm 10 years sober," she said in 2015. "I was in a really dark place."
In the uncertain aftermath of the 2008 Recession, Geidt responded to a tweet looking for interns from a new startup — Uber.
She cold-emailed Ryan Graves, Uber’s CEO at the time, asking for the job.
She joined Uber as its fourth employee and first intern in 2010. As is the case with many early-stage companies, Geidt's role wasn't clearly defined and included everything from handing out flyers to cold-calling potential drivers. As the company grew, Geidt's role continued to change to fit the company's needs.
Within five years, Uber had come to dominate the Silicon Valley startup scene. By 2015, it was valued at as much as $50 billion, with a who's who of investors on board. We don't know how much equity she owns in the company, but it's likely sizable.
Part of her evolving role included overseeing Uber’s expansion into international markets. As the company grew, so did Geidt's role. By 2015, she ran the team that expanded Uber into new international markets, such as Australia.
Geidt says she developed skills during her time in rehab to help cope with the realities of working for such a fast-growing company.
She has been in her current role leading strategy for Uber’s Advanced Technologies Group since 2016, overseeing much of the company's push into self-driving cars.
Geidt also said that, even though she “lives and breathes Uber,” there's more to her life. "I'm so proud of the work my team has done at Uber and of the work I've done at Uber. But it's not the proudest thing I've done, right? I'm more proud of being sober," she said in 2015. "I just have perspective."
Once described as an “overdressed” intern, Geidt has remained a constant force as the company went through growing pains and leadership changes. Originally hired by Graves, Geidt has seen Uber through three CEOs, including current chief executive Khosrowshahi.
On Friday, Geidt was awarded the honor of ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on the day of Uber’s IPO. After nine years with Uber, it's clear that she's considered key to the company's success.