Thea Phifer

Written by Thea Phifer

Modified & Updated: 28 May 2024

Sherman Smith

Reviewed by Sherman Smith


Ryan Graves is a name that has gained significant recognition in the world of business and entrepreneurship. As an influential figure in the tech industry, Graves has made remarkable contributions to some of the most successful companies to date. From his role as the first employee and CEO of Uber, to his current position as a Partner at the venture capital firm, Saltwater Ventures, Graves has solidified his status as a serial entrepreneur. But there’s more to Graves than just his professional achievements. Behind the scenes, the man is full of extraordinary facts that make him even more fascinating. In this article, we will delve into 14 extraordinary facts about Ryan Graves that will not only surprise you but also give you a glimpse into the multi-faceted personality of this remarkable individual.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ryan Graves, Uber’s first employee, joined the company through a tweet and later became its CEO. He played a key role in Uber’s international expansion and is known for his down-to-earth personality.
  • Ryan Graves, a passionate sports fan and advocate for diversity, is a respected thought leader in the tech industry. His journey from employee to leader inspires aspiring entrepreneurs.
Table of Contents

Ryan Graves was the first employee of Uber.

Ryan Graves holds the distinction of being Uber’s first employee, playing an instrumental role in the early days of the company’s growth. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to innovation laid the foundation for Uber’s global success.

He joined Uber through a simple tweet.

In a remarkable turn of events, Ryan Graves secured his position at Uber by responding to a tweet from co-founder Travis Kalanick. Kalanick had posted about his need for a general manager, and Graves wasted no time in seizing the opportunity that would change his life forever.

Graves served as Uber’s CEO for a brief period.

As Uber experienced rapid expansion, Ryan Graves took on the role of CEO in 2010, leading the company through a crucial phase of development. His leadership skills and strategic vision were instrumental in shaping Uber’s early trajectory.

He played a key role in Uber’s international expansion.

Ryan Graves played a pivotal role in spearheading Uber’s international expansion, driving the company’s entry into new markets around the world. His ability to navigate complex regulatory environments and establish key partnerships contributed to Uber’s global dominance.

Graves is passionate about philanthropy.

Beyond his business endeavors, Ryan Graves is actively involved in philanthropic initiatives. He has been a strong advocate for giving back to the community and has supported numerous charitable causes throughout his career.

He played a crucial part in establishing Uber’s culture.

Ryan Graves played a vital role in shaping Uber’s unique culture, emphasizing the importance of customer-centricity and fostering a collaborative work environment. His contributions helped lay the groundwork for the company’s strong brand identity.

Graves is an enthusiastic advocate for entrepreneurship.

With his own entrepreneurial journey and experience at Uber, Ryan Graves is a vocal supporter of entrepreneurship. He frequently shares insights and advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, encouraging them to pursue their passions and turn their ideas into reality.

He served as the Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Uber.

As Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Uber, Ryan Graves oversaw key operational aspects of the company, ensuring seamless service delivery and driving efficiency. His dedication to providing a superior user experience was pivotal in Uber’s sustained growth.

Graves is known for his down-to-earth personality.

Despite his success and influential role at Uber, Ryan Graves has maintained a down-to-earth demeanor, earning the respect and admiration of colleagues and industry peers. He is known for his approachability and willingness to engage with others.

He has been actively involved in investing in startups.

Ryan Graves has leveraged his expertise and success to support the startup ecosystem, investing in and advising numerous early-stage companies. His keen eye for emerging trends and innovative ideas has made him a sought-after mentor for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Graves is an avid sports fan.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Ryan Graves is a passionate sports enthusiast. He enjoys following various sports teams and can often be seen attending games and engaging in spirited discussions about the latest sports news and events.

He is committed to diversity and inclusion.

Ryan Graves has championed diversity and inclusion throughout his career, working to create an inclusive work environment where individuals from all backgrounds can thrive. His advocacy has helped foster a culture of acceptance and equality within Uber.

Graves is a respected thought leader in the tech industry.

With his extensive experience in the tech and startup space, Ryan Graves is highly regarded as a thought leader. He frequently shares his insights and expertise through speaking engagements, conferences, and interviews, inspiring others in the industry.

He is an inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs.

Ryan Graves’ incredible journey from Uber’s first employee to influential leader serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs. His unwavering determination, innovative thinking, and commitment to excellence showcase the qualities necessary for entrepreneurial success.


After delving into the life and achievements of Ryan Graves, it becomes evident that his journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. From his humble beginnings as an intern at Foursquare to co-founding and serving as the first CEO of Uber, Graves’s entrepreneurial spirit and determination have propelled him to great heights.

Not only has he made a lasting impact on the transportation industry, but his philanthropic efforts have also left a mark on various charitable organizations. From his immense success at Uber to his involvement with SpaceX, Graves continues to make waves in both the business and tech worlds.

Undoubtedly, Ryan Graves’s story serves as an inspiration to aspiring entrepreneurs worldwide, reminding us that with hard work, passion, and a drive to create meaningful change, remarkable achievements are within our reach.


1. How did Ryan Graves become involved with Uber?

Ryan Graves joined Uber in 2010 as the company’s first full-time employee after answering a tweet from Travis Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder. He initially started as the General Manager and later became the CEO, playing a crucial role in the company’s early expansion and success.

2. What are some of Ryan Graves’s notable achievements at Uber?

As the first CEO, Ryan Graves oversaw Uber’s rapid expansion to different cities around the world. He played a vital role in building the company’s early operations, marketing strategies, and driver-partner relations, laying a strong foundation for Uber’s future growth.

3. Apart from his work at Uber, what other notable ventures has Ryan Graves been involved in?

Besides his time at Uber, Ryan Graves has been involved in several other ventures. He served on the board of directors at Zillow, a leading real estate marketplace, and joined SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturer and space transportation company, as Senior Director of Operations.

4. What philanthropic efforts has Ryan Graves been involved in?

Ryan Graves has been actively involved in philanthropic endeavors. He pledged $1 million to the ACLU to support their fight for civil liberties and has supported various other charitable organizations, including DonorsChoose and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund.

5. What is Ryan Graves’s impact and influence in the business and tech industries?

Ryan Graves’s impact and influence in the business and tech industries are significant. He played a pivotal role in revolutionizing the transportation industry through his involvement with Uber. Additionally, his participation in SpaceX showcases his passion for pushing boundaries and shaping the future of space exploration.

Ryan Graves' extraordinary journey from Uber's first employee to a respected tech industry leader is truly inspiring. His passion for entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and diversity has left an indelible mark on the company's culture and global operations. If you're eager to learn more about the world of startups and technology, check out our curated list of the best books for entrepreneurs, dive into the fascinating history and facts about Uber, or explore the latest trends and innovations in the ever-evolving tech landscape.

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