Holmes at Collision in 2019
|Occupation||Computer programmer, entrepreneur|
|Known for||CEO of Hootsuite|
Ryan Holmes (born December 30, 1974) is a Canadian computer programmer and internet entrepreneur. He is best known as the founder and CEO of Hootsuite, a social media management tool for businesses with more than 18 million users. Holmes began developing Hootsuite in 2008 through his agency, Invoke Media. He is also the founder of League of Innovators, a charity with a goal of building entrepreneurial acumen for youth, from discovery to acceleration.
Holmes is a contributor to the LinkedIn Influencers Program, where he writes about entrepreneurship and technology. Holmes also contributes regularly to news publications including Forbes, Fast Company and Inc.com.
Early life and education
Holmes was born in Vernon, in the British Columbia Interior. Growing up, he lived on a small farm which was isolated and lacked electricity. Holmes won a district-wide programming contest in the fifth grade, and the prize was an Apple IIc which was rewired to run off of a car battery. He spent much of his spare time on the computer, both at school and at home.
In the mid 1990s, Holmes began taking business and computer science courses at Okanagan College but he eventually dropped out. In 2018, he received an honorary doctorate from the University of British Columbia for helping to shape the identity of Vancouver as a tech hub.
In high school, Holmes founded a paintball field as his first business which later became an online retailer. After dropping out of university in 1997 Holmes moved back to his hometown of Vernon and started his second business, a pizza restaurant called Growlies. He sold a franchise of the business in that year.
To re-pursue his passion for computers and be a part of the emerging tech industry, Holmes sold Growlies in 1999 and moved to Vancouver. While there he taught himself internet design and development and began working at a local technology firm.
Following this he founded Invoke, a digital media agency, where Hootsuite was born in 2008. Seven of the 21 employees at Invoke were tasked to work on building out the Hootsuite tool, at the time a freemium product that would enable businesses to incorporate social media into their marketing campaigns. In 2009, Holmes raised an initial round of Series A funding of $1.9 million for Hootsuite and spun it off as an independent company.
In 2012, he then raised another round of funding for Hootsuite $20 million from Canada-based VC Omers Ventures. In August 2013, Holmes announced Hootsuite had secured $165 million in a Series B round of funding, the largest ever for a Canadian software company, led by Insight Venture Partners with participation from Accel Partners and existing investor OMERS Ventures. Today, Hootsuite has nearly 1,000 employees, and over 16 million users around the globe and has expanded its reach into the Enterprise-level market for large-scale social media solutions.
In 2013 Holmes launched an accelerator program for young entrepreneurs called The Next Big Thing (later rebranded as The League of Innovators), in part to help foster a "Maple Syrup Mafia," the term he coined in early 2013 to describe a new Canadian technology powerhouse similar to the original PayPal Mafia.
In 2016, he teamed with Steve Suchy to launch Oristand, an affordable cardboard standing desk/workstation.
In 2017, Holmes came out with a book, The 4 Billion Dollar Tweet, described by ZDNet as, "a guide to understanding and maximizing the use of social media." It is his first book. Holmes claimed that the book inspired Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein to tweet for the first time in June 2017.
- 2012: Okanagan College Alumni Association’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
- 2013: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.
- "Ryan Holmes profile at Linkedin". Linkedin. Retrieved 2 April 2014.
- Taylor, Chris (Feb 25, 2015). "A New York agenda with Hootsuite's night owl". Reuters. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
- Ebner, David (11 November 2011). "Sell out? No thanks, Hootsuite founder Ryan Holmes wants a legacy". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "11 Questions For Ryan Holmes". The Huffington Post Canada. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Gerber, Scott (14 March 2012). "Announcing a Live Chat With Hootsuite Founder Ryan Holmes". Mashable. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Melanson, Trevor (9 January 2013). "Is Hootsuite Canada's next billion-dollar tech titan?". Canadian Business. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Ernst, Amanda (October 20, 2010). "SO WHAT DO YOU DO, RYAN HOLMES, FOUNDER AND CEO OF HOOTSUITE?". Mediabistro. Retrieved October 21, 2014.
- Rao, Leena (8 January 2010). "Hootsuite Raises $1.9 Million For Social Media Dashboard". TechCrunch. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- "Hootsuite Gets $20M from Canadian Pension Fund". Ad Age. 29 March 2012. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- The Canadian Press (1 August 2013). "Hootsuite aims high as it secures $165-million funding agreement to expand". MacLeans. Retrieved 29 August 2013.
- Dawes, Terry (31 October 2013). "Hootsuite's Ryan Holmes Recruits First Generation of "Maple Syrup Mafia"". CanTechletter. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- Holmes, Ryan (24 April 2013). "Rise of the Maple Syrup Mafia". CNNMoney. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
- "Hootsuite founder launches US$25 stand-up desk to liberate seated workers everywhere". Financial Post. January 13, 2016. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
- "Is your company ready for the $4 billion tweet?". ZDNet. June 7, 2017. Retrieved June 20, 2017.
- "Goldman Sachs CEO joined Twitter after reading a book by this billion dollar tech chief executive". CNBC. June 16, 2017. Retrieved June 28, 2017.
- "Okanagan College Alumni Association grants social media innovator 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award". Okanagan College. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
- "Premier Clark celebrates some of B.C.'s finest with Queen's medal". Government of British Columbia. Retrieved 12 July 2015.