Born and raised in New York City, Alexis Ohanian co-founded Reddit with his friend, Steve Huffman in 2005. A Y Combinator accelerator alum, Reddit is a social news media site that was acquired by Conde Nast in 2006, making Ohanian a multimillionaire at the age of 23. He and Huffman built Reddit with web links and texts submitted by users. It took the pair three weeks to build.
While he continues to be somewhat involved with the site, Ohanian left Reddit in 2009 and founded Breadpig, a site that publishes geeky novelties from the web (e.g. XKCD, SMBC, Awesomesauce and LOLmagnetz). All profits from the site are donated to non-profit organizations.
In 2010, he went on to help launch the travel site, hipmunk, working on the marketing, public relations and community development for the first year of the website’s existence.
Next, he helped in organizing the opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) – both, efforts by Congress to regulate the content on the Internet.
Ohanian has also founded an investment firm called Das Kapital Capital that has stakes in 25 startups. He is also a part of Initialized capital, which recently raised $39 million for its second fund.
In addition to all of the above, he is on the board of Reddit Inc.; he is the Y Combinator Ambassador to the east; he is an advisor to hipmunk and he is also set to launch a book called “Without Their Permission” later this year.
Maker’s Row, Hullabalu, Virool, Svbtle, ParkWhiz, Kamcord, SmartThings, Eponym, 42Floors, Instacart, Clever, Upworthy, Streak, LendUp, Amicus, Rap Genius, Double Robotics, Perceptual Networks, Coinbase, Monogram, OrderAhead, Meteor, Directr, VHX, Codecademy, Hipmunk, Creative Market, PlanGrid, Exec, Crowdtilt, Priceonomics, Couple, Socialcam, SendHub, CircuitHub, Quarterly, Ridejoy, GetGoing, Swiftype, Tutorspree, Track.by, MinoMonsters, Comprehend Systems, Kicksend, Tagstand, Airtime, General Assembly, Sift Science, E la Carte, Snapjoy, Gobble, COLOURlovers, Grubwithus, Massive Health, Blueleaf, Artsy, Blue Frog Gaming, WakeMate, Adioso, Voxli, Wattvision, Foodoro, Frogmetrics, Enernetics, Evernote.
Companies of Alexis Ohanian:
On social media: “Being effective at social media, whether for business or personal use, means capturing people who have short attention spans. They’re only a click away from a picture of a funny cat, so you have to make your thing more compelling than that cat. And that can be a high bar.”
On being an angel investor: “The best part of being an angel investor is seeing these kids coming up with companies that get way more traffic than Reddit had when we sold it. I think, ‘Are you kidding me? They’re just kids, and they’ve done so much.”
On his career choice: “My junior year, I went to an LSAT-prep course. I flipped over my test and thought, ‘You bastards.’ I walked out and went to Waffle House. That’s where I had what I call ‘The Waffle House Epiphany’: I didn’t want to be a lawyer. I wanted to make a dent in the universe.”