Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder, Reddit & Best Selling Author
Alexis Ohanian, born April 24, 1983, is an entrepreneur and investor in Brooklyn, NY, best known as the co-founder of the social news site reddit.
While he learned his earliest lessons in leadership and web design from his high school Quake 2 clan and Everquest guild, Alexis continued his official studies at the University of Virginia, where he met his future co-founder Steve Huffman during freshman year move-in day.
At UVA, Alexis majored in business and history with a minor in German. Though he had originally planned to become an immigration lawyer, he experienced an epiphany in his junior year (while sitting in a Waffle House) that led him to the realization that he didn't want to practice law. Instead he convinced his best friend Steve to start a company with him.
The pair traveled to Cambridge, MA during their senior year spring break to hear Paul Graham give a talk titled "How to Start a Startup." After the lecture, Alexis invited Graham out for a drink so he and Steve could pitch Graham on their business idea. Graham agreed, loved the idea, and a suggested they apply to a new seed stage venture firm he'd launched called Y Combinator.
Alexis and Steve's original plan was to build an infrastructure that would allow people to order food from their cell phones. Though the idea was rejected, Alexis and Steve were invited to join the first class of Y Combinator, on the condition that they'd come up with a new concept. The next idea they pitched to Graham would become reddit.com.
Sixteen months after he graduated, reddit was acquired by Condé Nast. Alexis continued to manage product and business at reddit until leaving in 2010 to volunteer in Armenia for Kiva.org. Today he sits on the board of reddit, inc., which last month alone had over 80 million unique visitors and is one of the 50 biggest US websites.
After working as a Kiva Fellow in Yerevan for three months, Alexis returned to the US to focus on a social enterprise he'd started, called Breadpig. Described as a "Newman's Own for nerds," Breadpig publishes books featuring some of the most popular webcomics in the world, xkcd & Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, and produces other geeky novelties like Awesomesauce and LOLmagnetz. The non- sustainable profits are donated to worthy causes (over $200,000 so far!).
Upon returning to the States, Alexis also accepted a position as Y Combinator's Ambassador to the East.
In August 2010, just weeks before the launch, Alexis joined the team at hipmunk, Steve Huffman's second Y Combinator startup. Alexis helped create the company's brand identity and managed their marketing and PR. After a little over a year, Alexis moved to an advisory role and accepted an offer from Grand Central Publishing for his first book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made not Managed, which debuted as a national bestseller.