Alexis Kerry Ohanian (born April 24, 1983) is an American Internet entrepreneur and investor. He is best known as the co-founder and executive chairman of the social news website Reddit. He also co-founded the early-stage venture capital firm Initialized Capital, helped launch the travel search website Hipmunk, and started the social enterprise Breadpig. He was also a partner at Y Combinator. In 2012, Andy Greenberg of Forbes magazine dubbed him "Mayor of the Internet."
Alexis Kerry Ohanian
April 24, 1983
New York City, U.S.
|Residence||West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S.|
|Alma mater||University of Virginia|
Serena Williams (m. 2017)
Ohanian is based in Florida where he lives with his wife, tennis player Serena Williams, and their daughter Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr.
Forbes recently estimated his net-worth as $70M.
Ohanian was born in Brooklyn, New York to a German-born mother, Anke (née Prigge) and an Armenian father, Chris Ohanian. Chris's grandparents came to the US as refugees after the Armenian Genocide. Alexis went to Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland, where he gave the student address for his graduating class in 2001.
After graduation from the University of Virginia in 2005 with degrees in commerce and history, Ohanian and friend Steve Huffman pitched the idea MyMobileMenu to Y Combinator. The company passed on the idea, but encouraged the duo to come up with another idea it could potentially fund. They subsequently came up with reddit.com with the goal of it becoming the "front page of the Internet." Living in Boston at the time, they were less than a month into development when Ohanian learned that his girlfriend had fallen five stories and was in a coma. Shortly after,[when?] his father called him to tell him that his mother had been diagnosed with an inoperable tumor.
Reddit joined Y-Combinator's first batch of start-ups in the Summer of 2005 and were later acquired by Condé Nast in 2006 for an undisclosed amount between 10–20 million dollars. Ohanian continued to work closely with Reddit as a member of its board of directors. He returned to Reddit full-time with co-founder Huffman on July 10, 2015 to lead the now-independent company. He stepped back from the company in February 2018 to return to focusing on investing.
In 2007, Ohanian launched Breadpig, an "uncorporation" that produces geeky merchandise and gives the proceeds to charity. He no longer is involved in the day-to-day operations of Breadpig.
In 2009, Ohanian spoke at TED about a whale named Mister Splashy Pants. After leaving Reddit in 2010, Ohanian spent three months working in micro-finance as a Kiva fellow in Yerevan, Armenia. Ohanian helped launch travel search website Hipmunk in 2010, and now acts as an adviser. In June 2010, Ohanian announced the launch of his company Das Kapital Capital, which focuses on startup investing, advising and consulting.
Ohanian was named the "Ambassador to the East" for early stage venture firm Y Combinator. In this position, he meets with East Coast applicants, mentors New York YC founders, and is a general representative for the company. He also held the role of part-time partner and full-time partner at Y Combinator, before leaving in 2016 to help launch the third Initialized Capital fund with Garry Tan.
Early stage tech investingEdit
Ohanian co-founded Initialized Capital in 2010 and made seed investments in startups including Instacart, Zenefits, Opendoor, and Cruise. It has had three funds, totaling over $160 million under management. In 2014, CB Insights analyzed all the investors in tech and Ohanian was number one ranked investor for network centrality (the breadth of connections an investor has with other investors in the ecosystem and the quality and depth of those links).
Open Internet activismEdit
In late 2010 and early 2011, Ohanian spoke out against Congress's Stop Online Piracy Act and the Senate's PROTECT IP Act. He helped lead the Internet-enabled campaign that eventually overturned the two bills. Ohanian spoke to members of Congress, helped launch the national anti-SOPA/PIPA protests that took place on January 18, 2012, and spoke at the rally in New York that was organized by NY Tech Meetup.
In October 2012, Ohanian teamed up with Reddit General Manager Erik Martin and embarked on the Internet 2012 Bus Tour from Denver, CO to Danville, KY to campaign for the open Internet during the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates. One of the campaign stops spurred the idea for a possible "National Geek Day" in Washington D.C.
In response to his work advocating for the Open Internet, The Daily Dot named Ohanian number one in their top ten most influential activists of 2012, and Forbes Magazine dubbed him "Mayor of the Internet."
In May 2014, Ohanian began lobbying the FCC to support net neutrality, culminating with a day-long phone-a-thon into the FCC and Congress on January 15, 2015.
Victoria Taylor firingEdit
On July 2, 2015, Reddit fired communications director Victoria Taylor, a well-liked administrator who coordinated celebrity interviews from Reddit's New York office. In protest, volunteer moderators of the IAmA community set their forum to private, effectively turning it off, and other volunteer moderators followed suit because of "anger at the way the company routinely demands that the volunteers and community accept major changes that reduce [their] efficiency and increase [their] workload." The following day, a moderator of IAmA posted, on July 3, that "Chooter (Victoria) was let go as an admin by u/kn0thing [Alexis Ohanian]," an assertion that was not widely reported on. Media outlets, such as Variety, blamed interim CEO Ellen Pao for the dismissal. Harassment, which was already being directed toward Pao in relation to other controversies, intensified and she resigned a week later. However, On July 12, former CEO Yishan Wong informed the Reddit community that Taylor was fired by "the CEO's boss" and accused Ohanian of scapegoating. In the aftermath of Pao's resignation, Ohanian elaborated on his role in Taylor's dismissal. countering that, even though the AMA / IAmA changes came from him, he still reported to Pao. As was done for Ellen Pao, a petition was uploaded[by whom?] to Change.org asking Alexis Ohanian to step down. In 2017, Pao criticized Ohanian for avoiding the fallout by attending Wimbledon in the days immediately following Taylor's firing.
Hijab Emoji ProjectEdit
In early 2017, he worked with teenager Rayouf Alhumedhi to campaign for a hijab emoji. Ohanian helped arrange an AMA for Alhumedhi on r/twoxchromosomes about her idea and responded to critics. On July 17, 2017, Apple released its version of the hijab emoji.
On December 10, 2012, Ohanian teamed up with Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers to launch a Kickstarter project, with the intent to make a new album entitled "Lester's Time Has Come." According to Fast Company, Ohanian aimed "to prove that there are new, sustainable funding opportunities for artists now thanks to platforms like Kickstarter." This project raised over $61,000 for Chambers.
Two years later, Ohanian raised $12,244 for the non-profit Black Girls Code on Tilt.com. In May 2014, Ohanian used Tilt.com again to launch "Save Net Neutrality: Billboard in FCC's Backyard," a crowdfunding campaign to protest the FCC's plans to eliminate the idea of net neutrality.
Visiting Armenia on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, in April 2015, Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian toured Children of Armenia Fund (COAF)-supported villages in rural Armenia.
On December 29, 2016, Ohanian became engaged to tennis player Serena Williams. Their daughter, Alexis Olympia Ohanian Jr., was born on September 1, 2017, in West Palm Beach, Florida. Ohanian and Williams married on November 16, 2017, in New Orleans. Ohanian has said "watching Williams compete has changed how he measures success in business."
Awards and honorsEdit
In 2011 and 2012, Ohanian was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" list as an important figure in the technology industry. In 2013, Ohanian and Erik Martin were featured as "champions of innovation" in the 20th Anniversary issue of Wired. In 2015, Ohanian was named to the Crain's "40 Under 40" list for business. In 2016, Ohanian was named one of Fast Company's "Most Creative People in Business."
Ohanian published a book entitled Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed on October 1, 2013. Without Their Permission ranked fourth on The Wall Street Journal's best sellers list for Hardcover Business. In connection with the book, Ohanian embarked on a five-month, 150-stop and 75-university tour to promote the book.
In the summer of 2013, Small Empires with Alexis Ohanian, a weekly online series focused on rising startups in New York City hosted by Ohanian, premiered on The Verge. The first season ran for nine episodes. The second season premiered in October 2014.
On October 15, 2014, Ohanian launched the NYRD Radio podcast. Guests on the show have included Tim Ferriss, James Altucher, Carter Cleveland (founder of Artsy) and Cameron Russell. The podcast features a segment called Office Hours, in which aspiring entrepreneurs can apply to work through an idea with him.
On January 8, 2015, Ohanian released the first episode – listed as "Episode 0" – of Reddit's new podcast Upvoted, in which Ohanian delves deeper into real stories found on Reddit and talks to the users involved. Each week, the podcast focuses on a different story and features a guest around whom that story is centered.
- "Alexis Ohanian". Crunchbase.com. CrunchBase. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012. Retrieved May 22, 2012.
- "How Reddit's Alexis Ohanian Became The Mayor Of The Internet". Archived from the original on September 11, 2017. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
- Badenhausen, Kurt. "Inside Serena Williams' Plan To Ace Venture Investing". Forbes. Retrieved July 10, 2019.
- Rasmussen, Frederick N. (March 19, 2008). "Anke Ohanian". baltimoresun.com. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Kompanek, Christopher (September 20, 2013). "Alexis Ohanian on founding Reddit and future start-ups". Financial Times. Archived from the original on August 28, 2016. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
His mother was born in Hamburg and his paternal grandparents were Armenian immigrants.
- Ohanian, Alexis (November 16, 2016). "Alexis Ohanian's TNW NYC Keynote (11/16/16)". Facebook. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
- Yeghiazaryan, Aghavni. "ALEXIS OHANIAN". 100lives.com. Archived from the original on September 26, 2015. Retrieved September 25, 2015.
- Alexis Ohanian (March 29, 2012), 2001 Howard High Student Address, archived from the original on July 19, 2016, retrieved December 16, 2016
- Case, Wesley (December 30, 2016). "Serena Williams and Columbia native Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder, are engaged". Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on March 15, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2018.
- Moretti, Marcus (May 31, 2012), "The Heartbreaking Backstory To The Founding Of Reddit" Archived July 5, 2017, at the Wayback Machine. Business Insider. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- "Y Combinator's first batch: where are they now?". The Next Web. August 5, 2012. Archived from the original on November 18, 2017. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- "How Founding Reddit Got Me Through The Hardest Part Of My Life – Business Insider". Articles.businessinsider.com. August 3, 2010. Archived from the original on March 10, 2013. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "How Y Combinator Helped Shape Reddit". Businessweek.com. September 26, 2007. Archived from the original on April 26, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- Martin, Erik (September 6, 2011). "what's new on reddit: Independence". Blog.reddit. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Reddit's Alexis Ohanian On His Return to Venture Capital, Bitcoin's Price, and Internet Cats". Fortune. Archived from the original on May 5, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- "About". Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 15, 2012.
- Ohanian, Alexis. "Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media – TED Talk – TED.com". Archived from the original on February 21, 2014. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Alexis Ohanian Gains Perspective in Yerevan". AYFWest. May 11, 2010. Archived from the original on May 12, 2018. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
- "About". Hipmunk. Archived from the original on June 16, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "An Angel in New York: Alexis Ohanian - AlleyWatch". AlleyWatch. August 8, 2013. Archived from the original on May 11, 2018. Retrieved May 11, 2018.
- "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian To Join Y Combinator". TechCrunch.com. September 1, 2010. Archived from the original on September 30, 2012. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Initialized Capital raises $115 million for its third fund". VentureBeat. October 25, 2016. Archived from the original on December 26, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "About Us". Initialized Capital. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "Google PageRank for Investors". CB Insights - Blog. July 6, 2014. Archived from the original on January 10, 2017. Retrieved January 10, 2017.
- Alexis Ohanian SOPA Protest.m4v. YouTube. January 18, 2012. Archived from the original on June 12, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Hoshaw, Lindsey (October 23, 2012). "In the Midwest, Reddit finds a thriving startup culture". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "The Internet's March On Washington". BuzzFeed. Archived from the original on July 3, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Collier, Kevin (December 28, 2012). "The top 10 most influential Internet rights activists in 2012". The Daily Dot. Archived from the original on January 22, 2013. Retrieved January 3, 2013.
- Greenberg, Andy. "How Reddit's Alexis Ohanian Became The Mayor Of The Internet". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Join us in a final push for net neutrality! It's as easy as calling (858) WHEELER". January 15, 2015. Archived from the original on November 23, 2017. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- Lynch, Brian; Swearingen, Courtnie (July 8, 2015). "Why We Shut Down Reddit's 'Ask Me Anything' Forum". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on December 29, 2016. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
- Campbell, Andy (July 3, 2015). "Reddit Community Revolts After 'Ask Me Anything' Administrator Is Dismissed". The Huffington Post. Archived from the original on July 7, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Isaac, Mike (July 13, 2015). "Details Emerge About Victoria Taylor's Dismissal at Reddit". The New York Times. Archived from the original on September 6, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Roettgers, Janko (July 10, 2015). "Ellen Pao Out At Reddit, Co-Founder Takes Over As CEO". Variety. Archived from the original on July 12, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Weinberger, Matt (July 13, 2015). "Yishan Wong says Alexis Ohanian failed Ellen Pao". Business Insider. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- "Fire Alexis Ohanian". Reddit. July 13, 2015. Archived from the original on November 30, 2015. Retrieved July 14, 2015.
- Pao, Ellen (2017). Reset: My fight for inclusion and lasting change. Spiegel & Grau. ISBN 9780399591037. Retrieved November 25, 2017.
- Jarvis, Rebecca. "5 Things You Didn't Know About Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian". ABC News. Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- Vonberg, Judith; Shubert, Atika; Schmidt, Nadine. "Teen behind hijab emoji: 'I wanted an emoji of me'". CNN. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- "Apple previews new emoji coming later this year". Apple Newsroom. Archived from the original on August 24, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- Carr, Austin (December 11, 2012). "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian Taps Kickstarter And The Chambers Brothers To Prove Music Industry Wrong | Fast Company | Business + Innovation". Fastcompany.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
- "Lester's Time Has Come Today". Kickstarter. Archived from the original on August 25, 2017. Retrieved August 25, 2017.
- "Black Girls Code]". Tilt.com. Tilt.com. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved August 25, 2014.
- "Save Net Neutrality:Billboard in FCC's Backyard". Tilt.com. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved August 22, 2014.
- "Alexis Ohanian Visits COAF Villages in Armenia". Asbarez. May 1, 2015. Archived from the original on March 1, 2019.
- Williams Engaged to Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian" Archived September 2, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, The New York Times, December 29, 2016.
- Skiver, Kevin (September 1, 2017). "Serena Williams and fiancé Alexis Ohanian welcome first child -- a girl". CBS Sports. Archived from the original on September 9, 2017. Retrieved September 8, 2017.
- Duaine Hahn, Jason; Ehrich, Kathy (November 16, 2017). "A Perfect Match! Serena Williams and Alexis Ohanian Are Married". People. Archived from the original on November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 16, 2017.
- Elkins, Kathleen (April 14, 2018). "Reddit co-founder thought he was 'the hardest-working person on the planet' before he met Serena Williams". cnbc.com. Archived from the original on July 5, 2018. Retrieved July 4, 2018.
- Barret, Victoria (December 19, 2011). "30 Under 30 – Technology – Forbes". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- Victoria and Connie Guglielmo, Barret (December 17, 2012). "30 Under 30 – Tech – Forbes". Forbes. Archived from the original on August 26, 2014. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- Brita, d'Agostino (April 16, 2013). "From Zuck to Musk: The Champions of Innovation, in Portraits". Wired. Archived from the original on February 13, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.
- "Alexis Ohanian - Meet Crain's New York Business Class of 2015 40 under 40". www.crainsnewyork.com. Archived from the original on December 20, 2016. Retrieved December 16, 2016.
- "Alexis Ohanian: Latest News, Work, Videos, Photos on Fast Company". Fast Company. Archived from the original on February 2, 2017. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- Barret, Victoria. "Alexis Ohanian, CEO, Breadpig, 28 – In Photos: 30 Under 30: Technology". Forbes. Archived from the original on July 16, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Without Their Permission". Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Best-Selling Books: Week Ended Oct. 6 – WSJ". WSJ. October 10, 2013. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Without Their Permission — Book Tour Dates". Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2015.
- "blog.reddit -- what's new on reddit: I'm putting the reddit alien on a bus and doing a 150 stop, 77 college, 5 month long tour for internet entrepreneurship (let's hang out)". Archived from the original on June 11, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Small Empires". Vox Media. Archived from the original on June 13, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Small Empires - Season 2 Trailer". YouTube. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 13, 2017.
- "NYRD Radio". Archived from the original on May 30, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian Wants to Answer Your Toughest Startup Questions – Inc.com". Inc.com. October 15, 2014. Archived from the original on July 13, 2015. Retrieved June 14, 2015.
- "Episode 0 – The Story of u/youngluck (Dante Orpilla) : upvoted". Reddit. January 8, 2015. Archived from the original on January 9, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015.