Ryan Holmes is the founder of Invoke Media, best known for HootSuite, an internationally renowned social media dashboard used by millions of users around the world. Now its own independent company, HootSuite was briefly rumoured to be the target of an acquisition when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg landed in the city unannounced.
But Ryan, CEO of the Vancouver startup, was quick to affirm that was not the reason for the billionaire's mystery visit. He promptly tweeted that "Facebook isn't buying HootSuite anytime soon." That's clearly because he has bigger aspirations. Sure, he could easily sell his company for tens of millions of dollars tomorrow (similar startup TweetDeck was snatched up by Twitter for a cool $40 million last year) and everyone would be proud of him. However, you may have heard a famous man say, in recent times, that "a million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars." And that's more in sync with Ryan's ambition.
The most recent issue of monthly magazine BCBusiness asked 12 BC leaders what their professional bucket lists were. Notable among them was Ryan, who in the piece stands out as an entrepreneur whose passion burns quietly but hotly, whose determination is calm and collected yet fanatically zealous in the most subtle ways. His goals are the lofiest, yet he states them as though they are the most humble of all.
I want to build a billion-dollar company and take it to an IPO [or] exit, enable the financial independence of 50 people around me and build something disruptive, like how Netflix disrupted the traditional movie rental industry or how Apple rewrote music. [see edit below]
Is that the future of HootSuite? Perhaps, perhaps not. Maybe it's something that Ryan hasn't even thought of yet. Either way, it's hard to imagine him not at least coming close to his goal, considering how far he's already gone.
EDIT: Ryan Holmes has tweeted a clarification. It appears that BCBusiness should have printed "IPO/Exit," not "IPO exit"—so he is also willing to get acquired (for a billion dollars).
For the record I said ipo/exit, but thank you.