Ric Elias is the CEO and co-founder of Red Ventures – a marketing and technology company
headquartered just south of Charlotte, NC. A native to Puerto Rico, Ric attended Boston College
and Harvard Business School before beginning his career as part of GE’s Financial Management
Ric co-founded Red Ventures in 2000, just days before the dot-com bubble burst. The company
was able to pivot and weather the storm; by 2007 Red Ventures was ranked 4th on the Inc. 500 list
and in 2015 the company was valuated at more than 1 billion dollars. Now Red Ventures is the clear
market leader in performance-based digital marketing and has cultivated a technology-centric
and award-winning company culture, ranking as one of the Charlotte’s ‘Best Places to Work’
for nearly a decade.
In 2009, Elias was a survivor of Flight 1549, also known as the miracle on the Hudson, an event
which changed his life and led to his widely viewed TED Talk “3 things I learned while my
plane crashed.” His leadership style has earned him noteworthy recognition; in 2011 he was
named an Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur of the Year and in 2016 he was inducted into
the Carolinas Entrepreneur Hall of Fame.
Ric’s inspirational views on both business and family have been featured on CNN, TED Talks and
MSNBC. Ric has also been outspoken on political issues that affect his community and workforce,
most notably with his public opposition of North Carolina’s controversial House Bill 2.
Beyond Red Ventures, Ric is passionate about creating educational opportunity and economic
mobility for some of our most vulnerable populations. He has founded several nonprofits including
Road2Hire, an on-the-job sales and tech training platform, Golden Door Scholars (GDS), which
creates educational and career opportunities for high-performing undocumented students,
and his latest endeavor, LifeHoops, an after school basketball and life training program for at-risk