Ron Erickson (investor)

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Ron Erickson
Ronald P. Erickson

December 24, 1943
EducationCentral Washington University
Alma materUniversity of California at Davis
Occupation(s)CEO, angel investor
Years active1970s-present
Organization(s)Visualant, Inc.
SpouseDia Armenta

Ron Erickson (born December 24, 1943) is an American business executive, lawyer, and angel investor based in Seattle. After co-founding Microrim in 1981,[1] he has either founded or served as an executive for companies such as GlobalTel Resources, Inc.,[1] GlobalVision, Inc,[2] Egghead Software, Inc.,[1] and Blue Frog Media. He was the sole investor in Double Down Interactive, a social video game studio[3] that was sold for up to $500 million in 2012.[4]

As well as serving on various boards, he is currently CEO of Visualant, a public company he founded[5] focused on photon imaging and authentication technology.[6]

Early life, education[edit]

Ronald P. Erickson was born on December 24, 1943, in Tacoma, Washington, and raised in Ellensburg, Washington. His father, Ed Erickson, worked in education as both an administrator and professor,[7] first as superintendent of the Ellensburg School District (1952–1958), then as director of planning and development at Central Washington University, a professor and chairman for the department of education, and founding president of the Seattle Community College system.[6]

Ron Erickson spent much of his childhood on the pioneer farm owned by his mother, Ayleen Frederick's family, which they had homesteaded in the Kittitas Valley of Washington in 1876. He graduated from Ellensburg High School.[6] Erickson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in history from Central Washington University,[6] before earning a Master of Arts in American Studies at the University of Wyoming.[6]

Early in his career Erickson worked in public policy at the White House and the Office of Economic Opportunity in Washington, D.C.,[6] becoming the latter's branch chief for emergency food and medical services. He also worked for the Rockefeller Commission on Critical Choices in New York City.[6]

He studied law at the University of California at Davis, graduating with a Juris Doctor,[6] and is licensed to practice law through the Washington State Bar Association.[6] He has worked in Seattle[1] at firms such as Kargianis, Austin & Erickson, and Ronald P. Erickson & Associates.

Business career[edit]

In the late 1970s Erickson began a long-term career as a business executive and investor, working primarily with companies in the high technology, telecommunications, micro-computer, and digital media industries.[1][8] The companies have been both public and private,[6] starting with Microrim in 1981. In the early 1980s he became chairman and CEO at NBI, Inc.[1] He was an initial investor in Egghead Software, where ultimately he served variously as chairman, vice-chairman, and interim CEO.

He also co-founded and served as chairman and CEO of GlobalTel Resources, Inc.,[6] a telecommunications networking company.[1] Erickson previously served as chairman and CEO of the transaction processing company eCharge Corporation,[6]


Logo of Microrim
Logo of Microrim

Among Erickson's first projects was Microrim, Inc., a company he co-founded with his brother Wayne Erickson in 1981 to develop[1] R:Base, the first relational database for the PC.[6]


He was an original investor in Egghead Software, Inc.,[1] which was founded by Victor Alhadeff in 1984 as a computer software retail company.[9] Erickson served variously as chairman, interim president and CEO, and director,[6] before leaving the company in 1994.

Blue Frog[edit]

Blue Frog Media was a Seattle mobile media and entertainment company co-founded by Erickson.[1] Originally called Blue Frog Mobile, it sold ringtones, wallpaper images, and games to cell phone users.[3] In 2006 Blue Frog became best known for founding NOYZ, a television network that aired mostly pop and hip hop music videos, where members could send text messages to be placed on the air.[10] Erickson was chairman and CEO[6] of the company until 2007.[10]

Double Down Interactive[edit]

After Blue Frog Mobile dissolved, Blue Frog co-founder Cooper DuBois contacted Erickson to be the sole investor for PickJam, a startup which ran online trivia games. The profits from that company were turned into Double Down Interactive, a social video game studio.[3] Double Down Interactive had its first blackjack game on Facebook in spring of 2010, and turned a profit immediately.[3] In early 2012 Double Down Interactive was acquired by slot-machine company International Game Technology[3] for up to $500 million.[4] The transaction was following the U.S. Justice Department’s decision to drop its legal objections to online gambling.[3]


Erickson founded the photon imaging and authentication company[6] Visualant, Inc.,[4] and was appointed CEO on September 29, 2003.[1] Visualant is a public company, and their shares trade under NYSEVSUL.[5] He resigned from being CEO on August 31, 2004, and was appointed chairman of the board. As of May 12, 2010, he serves as chairman and CEO.[11]

The Seattle-based company gained over $5 million in external funding, which was used to purchase TransTech as a subsidiary, and continue the development and commercialization[12] of the Visualant Spectral Pattern Matching™ (SPM) technology, which directs structured light onto a substance or material to capture what the company calls "ChromaID."[5] In November 2013 he announced the company would be shipping a "lab kit" of the technology to specific parties, such as other technology companies, to allow for invention and development.[8]

He announced an agreement with Intellectual Ventures to accelerate the development of the Visualant intellectual property and expand its business development efforts.[13]

According to Erickson, "Everything in the world has a unique machine readable chromatic or color identifier. With our ChromaID technology we can read that unique identifier. I think ChromaID technology will, within a decade, be embedded in everyday devices and become a part of our daily lives."[8]

Board memberships and affiliations[edit]

The following is a partial list of affiliations Erickson has had with companies and institutions.

  • EDC – chairman and director
  • AFM Hospitality Corporation – board member
  • Airbomb – director
  • AEI Music Network, Inc. – board member
  • Braden Valley Mines Inc – president, board member[1]
  • Digital Data Networks Inc – chairman and director
  • – director
  • Intrinsyc Software Inc – chairman and director
  • IQ Technology Inc. – director
  • ivi, Inc – chairman
  • Newsgrade, Inc. – chairman and director
  • Pantheon Systems – director
  • Pocketop Inc – board member
  • Swedish Hospital Summit Club – board member
  • Telecalc, Inc. – director
  • Upgrade International, Inc. – director
  • WesTower Communications Inc – director

Personal life[edit]

As of 2013 Erickson lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington, with his wife, Dia Armenta. He has two adult daughters.[6] Erickson has competed in the Ironman Triathlon[15] and Half Ironman, and starting in 2004 was thrice ranked as the number one triathlete in his age group in the Northwest.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Ronald Erickson: Profile". Forbes. 2013. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  2. ^ "Vaste chasse à l'homme à Paris pour retrouver le forcené". Tribune de Geneve (in French). 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Woodward, Curt (August 23, 2012). "Meet Double Down's Lone Investor: Ron Erickson Talks Online Gambling". Xconomy. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  4. ^ a b c Dickey, Jeff (September 29, 2012). "Ironman entrepreneur Ron Erickson on patience, persistence and luck". GeekWire. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  5. ^ a b c "Visualant Engages Liolios Group to Lead New Strategic Investor Relations Program". Stockhouse. Yahoo! Finance. October 1, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s "Board of Trustees: Ron Erickson". Central Washington University. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  7. ^ Cornwall, Warren (July 18, 2005). "Ed K. Erickson, 89, valued education". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  8. ^ a b c Michael Foster, Russell Smith (November 14, 2013). "Visualizing the Future of Technology With Ron Erickson". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  9. ^ ", Inc". Company Histories. Funding Universe. Retrieved 2009-06-13.
  10. ^ a b Cook, John (December 14, 2007). "Seattle's Blue Frog Media cuts staff". Seattle PI. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  11. ^ "Visualant: Current Report". Edgar Online: US Securities and Exchange Commission. May 12, 2010. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  12. ^ "Visualant Inc". Biophotonics. Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  13. ^ "Visualant and Intellectual Ventures Join Forces to Accelerate Development of ChromaID Applications; SDKs Begin Shipping the Week of November 18". Yahoo! Finance. Visualant, Inc. November 14, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  14. ^ "2011-2012 Board of Directors and Officers". bioOasis Technologies Inc. August 18, 2011. Archived from the original on December 12, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-22.
  15. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2013-11-15.

External links[edit]