How Starboard CEO Ryan Coyne Became One Of His Generation’s Most Impressive Entrepreneurs

With a diverse background in investment banking, digital advertising, and consumer brands, the 35-year-old business whiz has built quite a reputation.

(Ryan Coyne)

Presented by Kyle Mora

In the world of entrepreneurship, some individuals stand out for their vision, drive, and ability to make a significant impact. Ryan Coyne, the 35-year-old entrepreneur and CEO of Starboard (previously known as Olympic Media), is one such individual. 

With a diverse background in investment banking, digital advertising, and consumer brands, Coyne has built quite a reputation for himself in the business world. His recent acquisition of Parler, a social media app, has further solidified his position as a dynamic and influential figure in the industry. 

Born in Pennsylvania and currently based in Washington, DC, Coyne started his career at JP Morgan in New York after graduating from Cornell University in 2010. Although he intended to pursue a career in finance, Coyne’s entrepreneurial spirit—and his father’s footsteps—led him to explore new opportunities sooner than expected.

“My father was a long-time entrepreneur, and I knew, at some point, I would want to start my own business,” says Coyne. “I decided to leave JPMorgan and pursue a more entrepreneurial path after three years.”

Coyne’s first serious foray into entrepreneurship came in 2013 when he led operations for two nascent startups in the political digital strategy and publishing businesses. “I spent four years learning both those industries down in D.C., as well as advertising and marketing,” he says, “Then, I took the opportunity to go off on my own.”

In 2018, Coyne took a leap of faith and founded Olympic Media, now called Starboard, a new-age digital advertising agency catering to various sectors, including politics, sports, entertainment, intelligence and defense, consumer brands, real estate, and advocacy.

What started as a one-man operation soon grew into a company of 50, positioning Starboard as a prominent player in the advertising landscape. In 2022 the prestigious—and brutally competitive—INC 5000 named them the 13th fastest-growing company in the nation and the fastest in advertising and media. 

One of Starboard’s distinguishing factors is its focus on de-risking client advertising. Coyne introduced a unique concept that allowed clients to maximize their impact without the burden of upfront costs.

“We created a model where we would front the entire advertising budget for our clients, especially for fundraising campaigns,” says Coyne. “It allowed us to build trust with our clients because they knew we were invested in their success.”

While Starboard excelled in advertising, Coyne’s entrepreneurial spirit pushed him to explore other ventures. In 2022, he founded We the People Wine, a consumer brand that aimed to make quality wine accessible to the average person. Produced in Napa Valley and sold at an affordable price, We the People Wine quickly gained recognition for its high quality and affordability. 

“From a price point perspective, we are between $17 to $19 a bottle, depending on the state taxes,” says Coyne. “We want to be a wine accessible to as many people as possible and can be a uniting element between friends and family, but at the same time is of exceptionally high quality.”

A portion of the profits from the wine sales is donated to the Working Warrior Foundation, a 501(c)3 founded by Coyne to support veterans transitioning into civilian life. The Working Warrior Foundation is committed to raising funds to support both past and present military communities. They assist those in need of jobs and support the families of soldiers who have passed and those who are still serving.

“I launched the foundation to support our veterans that were returning home,” says Coyne. “I wanted to look for an opportunity to give back, and this is the best way I knew how to do that.”

In April, Coyne’s entrepreneurial journey took another significant turn when Starboard made headlines with its acquisition of Parler, the pioneering free speech platform. Parler’s reputation as an uncancelable alternative social media platform made it an attractive asset for Starboard. Integrating Parler’s loyal user base into Starboard’s existing platforms presents exciting growth opportunities for the company.

“We see tremendous value in Parler and its commitment to free speech,” says Coyne. “This acquisition aligns with our vision of providing a platform for diverse voices and enabling individuals and organizations to connect without censorship.”

Ryan Coyne’s journey from the world of finance to the forefront of advertising, wine, and digital media showcases a knack for innovative thinking. With each venture, he pushes boundaries, challenges norms, and leaves an indelible mark on the industries he touches.

Cheers to entrepreneurs all over the country, building the next generation’s success stories.