By Matt MCcue
Hootsuite founder and CEO Ryan Holmes grew up on a Canadian potato farm without electricity. He has since gone on to build the world's most widely-used social media relationship platform. Today, his company Hootsuite has more than 10 million users and is used by 75% of the Fortune 1000 companies.
Holmes has invested his efforts in making technology better from a young age. In the fifth grade, he won a grade school programming contest and was awarded an Apple computer. He promptly, and successfully, rewired his prize to run off of a car battery. Holmes began attending the University of Victoria in 1997 before dropping out to go work for a number of start ups.
In 2000, he created his own digital agency, Invoke. The idea for Hootsuite was born out of a project for Invoke in 2008. The online tool allows businesses to connect their many social media presences on a single platform. It quickly gained a following and grew into its own enterprise. Hootsuite has expanded from a handful of employees to 700. It is now valued at $1 billion, according to Re/code.
The company has raised approximately $285 million in funding, according to Crunchbase. Holmes is determined to continuing growing the business strategically. He recently wrote a piece for The Wall Street Journal about the perils of start ups burning through large amounts of investor funding. Even after Hootsuite received its first $25 million, the company remained capital efficient. It spent the cash on hiring executive-level talent and further developing software. “So our new office space was anything but glamorous, filled with used furniture in ageing warehouses on the wrong side of the tracks in Vancouver," wrote Holmes. “We didn't spend on gala launch parties and our salespeople traveled on the cheap."
During later, larger funding rounds early employees were able to sell their stakes in Hootsuite back to company investors. “The impact, both psychologically and on a practical level, was huge," wrote Holmes. “This meant that, rather than just desperately racing towards the payday that comes with an IPO or exit, we could instead turn our attention to a longer-term vision: steadily building a multi-billion dollar company."
Holmes maintains his vision to revolutionize communications and empower customers to transform their messages into meaningful relationships. He was the first to see how a single online platform could host a company's social media identities. And he's an early adopter of the .CEO Top Level Domain. He uses RyanHolmes.CEO as a single place to connect his own online identities, including links to his Twitter account (53,300 followers), Linkedin profile page (1.1 million followers) and his company's website. With a Kred score of 887 reaffirming he is one the most popular CEOs on social media, it is clear that Holmes knows what he's doing in the digital space.
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