German + Armenian-American
Co-founder, Reddit + Entrepreneur + Activist + Investor
Crowned as ‘the mayor of the internet’ by Forbes, Alexis Ohanian is the son of a German mother and Armenian-American father. Alexis was born in Brooklyn, New York, and raised in Columbia, Maryland.
Immediately after graduating from the University of Virginia in 2005 with degrees in commerce and history, Alexis teamed up with fellow classmate Steve Huffman and started Reddit.com – a social news aggregation website where users’ votes push stories to the front page. The founders would join and receive funding from the powerful start-up incubator, Y Combinator. And within one short year, Reddit was acquired by Condé Nast in 2006, where Alexis stayed on as a member of its board of directors until 2009.
The years following 2006 would be full of new tech related endeavors. From starting Breadpig – a retail website that donates 100% of its profits to charity – to being the East coast ambassador for Y Combinator, and volunteering for three months as a Kiva Fellow in Yerevan, Armenia for kiva.org – a non profit that allows entrepreneurs and students to borrow money via the internet – Alexis has been pretty busy!
Alexis is a staunch supporter of the ‘open internet,’ and began to speak out against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in 2010. According to Alexis, their “…requirement that websites police themselves for copyrighted content would debilitate young companies.” His public denunciation of the two bills not only gained monumental support from the online world, but eventually resulted in the two bills being overturned. This accomplishment, and his vocal leadership against government restrictions, garnered Alexis ‘the mayor of the internet’ title and a Top 30 Under 30 spot on Forbes!
Alexis returned to Reddit in 2014 and hopes to have over a billion users worldwide within the next five years. As of today, Reddit is the 7th most-trafficked website in the USA.
Interesting facts: Alexis has invested in over 200 startups and is a national bestselling author (thanks to his 2013 book Without Their Permission: How The 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed).