Uber's First Employee Tweeted To Apply And Now He's A Billionaire

by Sean Levinson

In 2010, a young man from San Diego responded to a tweet from a stranger who was seeking help with an entrepreneurial venture.

According to Forbes, 31-year-old Ryan Graves tweeted "hire me :)" to Travis Kalanick, 38, one of the three cofounders of Uber.

Graves would be the ride-sharing service's first employee, and thanks to his stake in the company, he's now among the youngest billionaires on Earth.

His previous occupation was an internship at FourSquare, though it's not clear if he actually did anything for them or if he was even rightfully hired, Forbes suggests.

It was probably better than the job he held beforehand at General Electric, however, a position Graves referred to as "unglamorous" when speaking to Daily Finance.

He replied to this tweet from Kalanick a couple of months into his internship:

Looking 4 entrepreneurial product mgr/biz-dev killer 4 a location based service.. pre-launch, BIG equity, big peeps involved--ANY TIPS?? — travis kalanick (@travisk) January 6, 2010

Graves was Uber's CEO for a little while before handing the position over to Kalanick in late 2010, Forbes reports, a decision Graves said he was "super pumped" about at the time.

He went on to become head of global operations and is chiefly responsible for Uber's expansion to 55 countries.

Uber was worth $41.2 billion in December, and its increasing valuation has made billionaires out of Kalanick, cofounder Garret Camp and Graves.

Graves' equity isn't as large as the cofounders', who own about the same amount, so he'll have to settle for a measly $1.4 billion.

Camp and Kalanick became billionaires last year, with the former's stake currently valued at $5.3 billion.

The three are the first of many potential billionaires Uber has generated, with the company's investors expected to become nearly as rich should the company go public.

Venture capitalists who put their money into the company directly are also set up to rake in several billion due to Uber's soaring investor interest.

Uber is available in hundreds of cities, and it's on track to become one of the most profitable tech startups in history.

Citations: First Hire Ryan Graves Join FORBES Billionaires List (Forbes)