Flashback to 2008
Barack Obama becomes the first black American president in US history, Bill Gates leaves Microsoft, Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals and now added to the list: Ryan Holmes founds BC’s tech-juggernaut HootSuite.
Working out of a sublet-office in East Vancouver’s gritty Railtown neighborhood best known for its blue-collar work force and industrious character, Holmes and a handful of tech leaders give birth to a social media icon – one domain to manage multiple social media networks.
Hoot of a product
HootSuite delivers an easy-to-use social media management platform that allows individuals; businesses and organizations to execute secure online campaigns across multiple social channels.
Back then Holmes and his small team knew the value of keeping the company in BC’s rich and growing tech-ecosystem; an ecosystem recognized worldwide for its deep talent pool. That small team has since grown into the core leadership of the company – responsible for developing HootSuite’s remarkable products.
Flash-forward to 2013
“Largest ever deal in Canadian venture capital history for a software company.” Quotes like these are usually reserved for Apple, IBM, or Microsoft – but now, HootSuite. The now BC tech mogul secured the largest single investment for a Canadian tech start-up in history – $165 million.
CEO Ryan Holmes is the face of BC’s rapidly evolving tech sector. Over 744 of the Fortune 1000 companies use HootSuite, almost eight million users in over 175 different countries, newly minted 33,000 square-foot office (known as The Nest) in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, home to over 370 employees – (known as owls). Recruiting local “owls” to the “nest” is something Holmes’ and HootSuite pride itself on – they recently hosted a public job fair (#hoothire search the hashtag) – onboarding over 100 of BC’s brightest.
HootSuite’s accelerated rise to tech startup celebrity materialized quickly, and the headlines seem to flow effusively, “Google of the North,” “Canada’s Brightest Tech Startup,” “BC’s Tech Giant,” but what has remained resolute is their proud West Coast ethos. Ethos is difficult to articulate. Think for a moment, it’s something you need to experience – it’s something pronounced, but so unequivocally challenging to detail. Here’s a two-sentence crack at detailing the ingredients of HootSuite’s core ethos, now known as Hootlandia.
Life in The Nest
One part rugged West Coast, one part dog lover, one part craft-beer lover, one part eat-local thinker, two parts resilient East Van Railtown character, two parts active lifestyle, three parts social, four parts innovative tech development, and all parts proud British Columbians.
East Vancouver’s Railtown district gave birth to HootSuite, provided its identity and character, but BC is raising it. It’s BC’s commitment to growing the economy and a strong competitive tax regime that has positioned its tech sector as one of the most robust in Canada. Companies like HootSuite see the benefits of doing business in BC – recruiting from its sought-after talent cohort and developing in an innovative tech environment.
- Hootsuite company info
- Work at Hootsuite!
- The BC Jobs Plan
- Recent #BCBiz Twitter Townhall summary
- Celebrating national small business week