Ryan Graves (businessman)

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Ryan Graves (Businessman)

Ryan Graves, born in 1983, has left an indelible mark on the landscape of transportation technology. As Uber’s inaugural Chief Operating Officer (COO), Graves spearheaded the company’s evolution from a fledgling startup to a global juggernaut. Throughout his tenure, he not only expanded Uber’s reach worldwide but also introduced groundbreaking services like UberX and UberPOOL, revolutionizing how people navigate their cities.

However, Graves’ influence extends far beyond the confines of Uber’s boardroom. Beyond his role as CEO and board member of notable organizations such as Charity: Water, Pachama, and Metromile, he is also the driving force behind Saltwater, his family office. This multifaceted approach underscores Graves’ commitment to driving positive change across various sectors.

Graves’ expertise doesn’t stop at operational prowess; he’s equally adept at strategic planning and fostering cohesive teams. Post-Uber, he transitioned into the realm of investment, leveraging his insights to nurture promising startups, particularly those poised to disrupt the transportation industry. His investment firm serves as a beacon for innovation, championing projects that blend technology with sustainability, thereby charting a course towards a more efficient and eco-conscious future of transportation.

Moreover, Graves is a staunch advocate for mentorship, using his wealth of knowledge and resources to empower budding entrepreneurs. Through mentorship programs and strategic guidance, he empowers individuals to explore untapped opportunities in the ever-evolving landscape of technology.

By combining his entrepreneurial acumen with a steadfast commitment to social and environmental responsibility, Ryan Graves continues to shape the future of transportation while leaving an enduring legacy of innovation and impact.

San Diego, California, US

Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Ryan Graves
NameRyan Graves
Date of Birth1983
Birth PlaceSan Diego, California, US
University  Miami University (2006)
ProfessionFounder & CEO
Known The first employee of Uber
SpouseMolly Graves

Early Life

Ryan Graves, a native of San Diego, California, was raised in close proximity to the ocean, fostering a profound connection with the waves from his formative years. His educational journey commenced at Horizon Christian Academy, where he not only delved into academic pursuits but also honed his skills as a member of the high school surf team, embodying the spirit of adventure and determination.

Upon graduation in 2006, Graves embarked on a path of higher education, enrolling at Miami University in Ohio to pursue a degree in economics. His collegiate years were marked by active involvement in extracurricular activities, including membership in the water polo club team and the esteemed Beta Theta Pi fraternity. These experiences not only enriched his academic journey but also cultivated a diverse skill set and a robust network of peers.

Rooted in the heartland of America, Graves’ upbringing instilled in him the core values of diligence and self-reliance. Surrounded by a family that championed entrepreneurship, he imbibed the principles of innovation and resilience from an early age, laying the groundwork for his future endeavors.

Throughout his academic pursuits, Graves remained steadfast in his passion for economics and business studies. Armed with a degree in business management, he delved into the intricacies of corporate dynamics and strategic planning, laying a solid foundation for his professional aspirations. Practical experiences gained through internships and part-time roles during his college years provided invaluable insights into real-world challenges, equipping him with the acumen needed to navigate the complexities of the business landscape.

The amalgamation of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience became the cornerstone of Graves’ career trajectory. Armed with a deep understanding of business fundamentals and a penchant for innovation, he ventured into entrepreneurial endeavors, poised to make a mark in the ever-evolving realm of startups. His journey from the shores of California to the corridors of academia, and eventually to the forefront of the tech industry, epitomizes the transformative power of determination and entrepreneurial spirit.


Ryan Graves embarked on his professional journey with General Electric before venturing into the dynamic world of startups and technology. His early determination was evident when, despite initial rejection, he secured an internship at Foursquare through unconventional means. This resourcefulness foreshadowed his future endeavors, where he would consistently demonstrate resilience and ingenuity.

In a serendipitous turn of events in February 2010, Graves became Uber’s inaugural employee. His entry into the company was marked by a Twitter interaction with Travis Kalanick, Uber’s co-founder, showcasing Graves’ ability to seize opportunities creatively. Initially assuming the role of General Manager, Graves quickly ascended to the position of Chief Operating Officer (COO), playing a pivotal role in shaping Uber’s trajectory.

During his tenure at Uber, Graves spearheaded the company’s global expansion initiatives, laying the groundwork for its exponential growth. Instrumental in the launch of groundbreaking services like UberX and UberPOOL, he solidified Uber’s dominance in the competitive ride-sharing landscape.

Following his departure from Uber, Graves ventured into the realm of investment with the establishment of Saltwater, his family office. Through Saltwater, he channels his expertise and resources into nurturing promising technology startups, particularly those with a focus on transportation and sustainability.

Graves’ commitment to fostering innovation extends beyond his entrepreneurial pursuits. He actively engages with industry peers and aspiring entrepreneurs, sharing his wealth of experience and insights. His mentorship endeavors underscore his dedication to cultivating the next generation of trailblazers.

Ryan Graves’ professional odyssey epitomizes the fusion of vision, adaptability, and strategic acumen. From his formative years at General Electric to his transformative stint at Uber and subsequent ventures, Graves’ journey serves as a testament to the power of entrepreneurial spirit in shaping industries and driving meaningful change.

Personal Life

Ryan Graves, along with his college sweetheart and kindergarten teacher wife, Molly Graves, has cultivated a fulfilling family life on the serene shores of Kaua’i, Hawaii, raising their four sons. A devoted supporter of the San Diego Padres baseball team, Graves finds solace and joy in both familial bonds and sportsmanship.

Beyond his domestic haven, Graves extends his influence to the global stage through his philanthropic endeavors. Serving on the board of directors for Charity: Water, he pledges a significant portion of his wealth to the noble cause of providing clean water solutions to those in need across developing nations.

Renowned for his tech and business acumen, Graves strikes a harmonious balance between his professional pursuits and personal life. He ardently champions the importance of maintaining equilibrium between work and leisure, recognizing the profound impact it has on sustained success.

Central to Graves’ ethos is the unwavering support and collaboration with his spouse in various charitable ventures, underscoring their joint commitment to community welfare and philanthropy. Their shared values, particularly in entrepreneurship and giving back, serve as pillars of strength in their relationship.

In addition to his corporate endeavors, Graves is deeply invested in uplifting underprivileged youth through educational initiatives. His dedication to societal betterment extends to causes promoting environmental sustainability and economic empowerment, embodying a profound sense of responsibility towards fostering positive change.

In moments of respite, Ryan indulges his passion for outdoor pursuits, finding solace in cycling and running, activities that invigorate both his physical and mental well-being. A seasoned traveler, he seeks out diverse experiences that enrich his perspectives and infuse his professional endeavors with fresh insights.

Embracing a philosophy of lifelong learning, Graves remains committed to personal and professional growth. Actively participating in seminars and workshops, he continually hones his skills and stays abreast of industry developments, embodying a relentless pursuit of excellence.

Ryan Graves epitomizes a holistic approach to life, wherein his unwavering dedication to family, community, and personal well-being serves as the cornerstone of his enduring success and influence in the tech and business spheres.


Ryan Graves, known for his pivotal role as Uber’s first COO, has significantly shaped the transportation technology landscape. Under his leadership, Uber launched groundbreaking services like UberX and UberPOOL, facilitating affordable and accessible transportation options worldwide. He spearheaded Uber’s rapid expansion across over 60 countries, establishing the company as a dominant force in the global ride-sharing market. After leaving Uber, Graves founded Saltwater, an investment firm that focuses on supporting tech startups innovating in transportation and sustainability. Through Saltwater, he champions projects that integrate sustainable practices into transportation, enhancing environmental stewardship within the industry.

Beyond his entrepreneurial ventures, Graves is deeply committed to philanthropy, particularly in education. He supports various initiatives that provide resources and opportunities to underprivileged youth, with a focus on enhancing STEM education. His investment in sustainable transportation projects through Saltwater also reflects his dedication to promoting eco-friendly solutions, proving his commitment to both technological innovation and social responsibility. Graves’ career and personal engagements highlight his multifaceted approach to business and community impact, making him a significant figure in both the tech and philanthropic landscapes.


Project TitleRoleYearDescription
UberX and UberPOOL LaunchCOO at UberVariousLed the launch of these services which revolutionized urban mobility by offering cost-effective and shared ride options, significantly expanding Uber’s market reach.
International Expansion of UberCOO at UberVariousSpearheaded Uber’s expansion into over 60 countries, establishing the company as a global leader in the ride-sharing industry.
SaltwaterFounderPost-UberEstablished this investment firm focusing on tech startups, particularly those innovating in transportation and sustainability sectors.
Educational InitiativesPhilanthropistOngoingSupports various educational programs aimed at providing resources and opportunities to underprivileged youth, emphasizing STEM education.
Sustainable Transportation ProjectsInvestorOngoingInvests in and supports startups that are developing solutions to reduce environmental impact in the transportation industry, promoting sustainable practices.


These projects represent a mix of entrepreneurial, executive, and philanthropic efforts by Ryan Graves, showcasing his diverse skills and commitment to leveraging technology for economic and societal improvement. His work not only impacts the business landscape but also contributes to social and environmental betterment.




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