Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Gets Profiled By Inc.

Posted May 31, 2012

Reddit is read by millions of people every day and hits billions of views per month. The Reddit community is well known for crowd-sourcing political protests and providing charity to certain organizations. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian just game a compelling interview that was profiled by Inc. In the interview he talks about how him and Steve Huffman built Reddit in 3 weeks. Originally Steve and Alexis were planning on building a business called MyMobileMenu where users would be able to order food through mobile devices. The two spent a year researching the competition and talking to local businesses. During Alexis’ spring break, he found out that Paul Graham was speaking up in Boston so he went up to see him. He did not know how Graham was at the time, but told him it would be worth the cost of buying him a drink and listening to the two talk to him about their startup. He invited them to interview with Y Combinator, which nobody had heard of at the time. The two interviewed, but were rejected. On the train ride home, Paul called them up again and said “I’m sorry, we made a mistake. We don’t like your idea, but we like you guys.” He then told them “you guys need to build the front page of the Internet.”

About one month after making Reddit, Ohanian was told that his girlfriend had fallen from a fifth floor balcony in Germany and was in a coma. He then received a phone call from his dad saying that his mom had a seizure and a brain tumor was discovered. She was suffering from terminal brain cancer and was really sick. His mother has passed on since. Ohanian’s girlfriend left the hospital a few months later. “Waking up every morning with a company is a lot of pressure. But when you’re aware of what other people are waking up with, it’s a whole lot easier.”

When Condé Nast acquired Reddit, it started with a Halloween party. The two met a reporter that introduced Ohanian to a freelancer for Wired. She told her boss about the Reddit duo. That editor’s husband was the business guy at Condé Nast. He was working on a licensing deal with them and then they started talking about the money. Reddit ended up selling for between $10 and $15 million. “We had been working on Reddit for just 16 months. I was like, ‘This is absurd.’ My mom, who has since passed away, was really sick then. To be able to call her the morning after the money was in the bank and tell her my work was not in vain?and, moreover, that her support was not in vain?meant the world to me.’