Uber’s first employee is poised to make over $1 billion after the company’s massive listing

Business Insider US

  • Ryan Graves was Uber's first employee and briefly held the CEO position before founder Travis Kalanick.
  • He is poised to become a billionaire after Uber's debut on Friday.
  • But he is part of a new set of early tech employees that have committed to donating a portion of his windfall to charity. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Ryan Graves was Uber's first employee and stands to make over $1 billion (R14.2 billion) after the company's public offering on Friday at current prices. But the former CEO won't be the only one seeing a payday as Uber stock starts trading.

Graves is one of the founding members of The Pool, a new initiative with charity: water that allows early tech employees to donate or pledge stock options in private companies before a major liquidity event. When the stock is cashed out through a public offering or acquisition, charity: water gets paid.

"These generous donors will provide an essential pipeline to our operations fund - which powers our 100% Model so that all public donations can go straight to clean water - while giving us a new way to reward our hard-working team and continue making charity: water the best possible workplace for those who choose to work in the service of others," Lauren Letta, Chief Operating Officer of charity: water, told Business Insider.

WeWork cofounder Miguel McKelvey and Casper cofounder Neil Parikh are also founding members of The Pool. WeWork parent The We Company confidentially filed to go public in late April.

Uber priced shares at $45 ahead of Friday's public offering at an initial market cap of $75.5 billion. Charity: water could not confirm how many shares Graves pledged or how much it stands to receive from the donation, but members of The Pool are required to donate a minimum of 1% of their holdings. At a minimum, charity: water will see over $14 million from Graves' donation at the set price.

Charity: water said it plans to use the funds to support operating costs like rent for its offices and employee salaries. Leftover funds will be used for annual bonus payments to eligible employees, a perk often reserved for corporate workforces.

Scott Harrison founded charity: water in 2006 to solve the global water crisis by providing clean water to communities in need. The nonprofit's operations are currently funded by 133 individuals and families because it uses 100% of its public donations on projects in the field. Public donors can see exactly where their dollars are used with GPS coordinates and photos. 

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