‘Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber’ follows the tumultuous journey of a tech startup that grows into one of the most successful unicorns in the industry. Under the leadership of its dogged co-founder and CEO Travis Kalanick (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), the titular company becomes an iconic disrupter of the taxi industry. Of course, the company faces its fair share of trouble, and this is where Kalanick’s right-hand man, Emil Michael, comes into the picture.
From the time he first steps into the Uber (then UberCab) offices, Emil begins to shake things up. He quickly earns Kalanick’s respect and goes on to help lead the company through some decisive periods. Considering the Showtime miniseries draws quite a bit from real life, we decided to dig around and see what we could find about the real-life inspiration behind Emil Michael’s character in ‘Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber.’
Is Super Pumped’s Emil Michael Based on a Real Person?
Yes, Emil Michael’s character on the show, essayed by Babak Tafti, is based on an actual person. The real Emil Michael worked with Uber for almost four years as its Chief Business Officer and headed Uber China’s activities. Despite his background in law, Emil favored the tech industry and was involved in multiple high-profile deals for the companies he worked for. At Uber, he was seemingly in charge of all fundraising as well as mergers and acquisitions.
Emil was born in 1972 in Cairo, Egypt, to Camellia and George Michael. His family, along with him, moved to the United States shortly afterward, and Emil got a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University before earning a law degree from Stanford Law School. However, he seemingly soon realized that being a lawyer was not for him and subsequently began working with Goldman Sachs in New York.
After an extended stint at Tellme Networks, Emil was reportedly selected as a White House Fellow and served as a Special Assistant to U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He also seemingly visited countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan on assignments. After his stint with the government, Emil began working with tech companies and, in 2012, became Chief Operating Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Klout, a social media influence aggregator.
Finally, in 2013, he joined Uber as Senior Vice President of Business and reportedly helped the company raise nearly $15 billion. Emil left Uber in June 2017 following a tumultuous time for the company, during which it received unfavorable press. Incidentally, Emil was also vetted for the post of Secretary of Transportation under the Trump administration but didn’t end up with the position. During his prolific career, Emil has also been on the boards of multiple non-profit organizations.
Where is Emil Michael Now?
— Emil Michael (@emilmichael) February 17, 2020
In 2018, Emil married his girlfriend, Julie Herrin, in Miami. The two met at the Hyde Nightclub in the Bellagio Hotel, Las Vegas. Since the pandemic (and possibly even slightly before), Emil and his wife have seemingly lived in their home in Miami Beach. On February 7, 2020, the couple had a daughter. Being the prolific businessman he is, Emil is currently the CEO of DPCM Capital, a special purpose acquisition company or SPAC.