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Alexis Ohanian          

Co-Founder of Initialized Capital & Co-Founder of Reddit; Entrepreneur, Investor, Activist & Bestselling Author

Alexis Ohanian is an 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."

Ohanian and Steve Huffman's original plan was to build an infrastructure that would allow people to order food from their cell phones. Though the idea was rejected, Ohanian and Huffman 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 would become Today he sits on the board of Reddit, inc., which is one of the 50 biggest US websites. Ohanian also accepted a position as Y Combinator's Ambassador to the East.

In early November 2011, Ohanian joined the fight against SOPA and PIPA. He continues to fight for internet freedom working on projects like the Declaration of Internet Freedom, Internet Defense League, and the Internet 2012 Campaign Bus Tour. He also sat on the NYC Mayor's Council on Tech and Innovation under the Bloomberg Administration.

An active investor with over eighty tech startups now in his portfolio, Ohanian is now one of the most prominent investors in tech.

Along the way, Ohanian has spoken at TED (a talk viewed over a million times), been rendered in CGI on NMA.TV, was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 in Technology two years in a row, and included in Inc. Magazine's 30 under 30 for his work at Hipmunk. He's a regular contributor on Bloomberg TV and is especially proud of unlocking his bucket-list achievement - appearing on The Colbert Report.

Ohanian has lectured at conferences like TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, SXSW and ROFLCON; spoken to companies such as Google, BBDO, and Betaworks; hired for talks at Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt, Kraft, and Palantir. He even keynoted an entrepreneurship summit in Cairo organized by the U.S. State Department just months after the Egyptian Revolution.

Ohanian has appeared in countless publications in print and online: New York Times, WSJ, CNN, Washington Post, The Economist, WIRED, NY Post, Gawker, TechCrunch, Mashable, Paper Magazine, Nylon Guys, Forbes, Fast Company, and Inc. He's also appeared in television programs on networks including CNN, MSNBC, Fox, CNBC, Al-Jazeera English, NPR, and G4.

Ohanian is based in Florida where he lives with his wife, tennis player Serena Williams.

Speech Topics

Make the World Suck Less (And Still Make a Profit)

So many people talk about how to use social media to build community, but not many have actually done it on a massive scale. As co-founder of the social news site reddit, and founder of the social enterprise breadpig, Alexis speaks with authority on the power of building a passionate community and the opportunity to tap into that community to do good works.

"Make the World Suck Less" is Alexis's motto and the mission he builds into all his entrepreneurial endeavors. With breadpig, he turned the publishing model on its head, giving the bulk of its profits to the artists while still raising over $200,000 in three years to donate to non-profit projects.

Alexis tells stories from his own experiences, and from the companies he invests in, and shows how individuals and organizations of every size and type can put these values into action.

Make Something People Love

So, you want to learn how to make a product people love-that's great! But stop right there. Before you can make something people love, you have to make something people want. What's challenging and wonderful about the web is that tricks of perception alone will not work. Anything you create actually has to be good. No matter how you try to convince someone to buy or use your product, they are always only a back button away from something more interesting. The internet is the most efficient marketplace for ideas that has ever existed, but your competition is stiff, and comes in all forms.

Alexis shares lessons he's learned from co-founding reddit, and building community on breadpig and the travel search site hipmunk. He'll also share best practices for design and community that he imparts to the startups he advises and invests in.

Think Like a Startup

America is losing its competitive edge as a nation. With fewer products being produced in the US, it is innovation coming from dorm-rooms and garages that will continue generating wealth (and jobs) for the next generation. Today, Google (started in a garage) has over 20,000 employees. Skype was developed by programmers in Estonia, and when it was sold, the price was equal to more than 1/10th of Estonia's GDP that year. A 17-year-old high school student in Moscow started, which quickly became one of the most popular websites in the world.

Alexis was in the first round of Y Combinator startups, funded in a model that has quickly become replicated worldwide as the standard means of investing in early stage web startups. He'll share what he learned from having gone through the experience, as well as what it's like now working for Y Combinator as their "Ambassador to the East."

With over 60 companies in his portfolio today, Alexis will also share his insights as an investor and show companies of all sizes the most valuable lessons they can learn from startup culture.

Without Their Permission

At 29, Ohanian has come to personify the dorm-room tech entrepreneur, changing the world without asking permission. Within a couple of years of graduating college, Ohanian did just that, selling reddit for millions of dollars. He’s gone on to start many other companies, like hipmunk and breadpig, all while representing Y Combinator and investing in over sixty other tech startups.

As Alexis Ohanian learned when he helped to co-found the immensely popular, the internet is the most powerful and democratic tool for disseminating information in human history. And when that power is harnessed to create new communities, technologies, businesses or charities, the results can be absolutely stunning. In this talk based on his new book, "Without Their Permission," Alexis shares his ideas on harnessing the power of the web for good and shares his philosophy with young entrepreneurs all over the globe. Alexis believes that the internet is the world's greatest library and stage, and he helps everyone gets on board equipped with all the right tools. He calls it "Permissionless Innovation" and shows the power of this platform not only for entrepreneurship, but for philanthropy, activism, the arts and more.

According to Alexis, when all links are created equal, we're going to see better companies, better arts, better non-profits, even better politicians. The potential is limitless from people who’ve been left out by traditional gatekeepers.

In order for this creativity to flourish we need to keep internet open and free and a viable place for people to pursue their dreams.


Alexis Ohanian, Reddit Co-Founder, To His 'Fellow Geeks': Stop ...

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian is aware of the sexism haunting the site and he has one word for his fellow geeks: "Stop."

Alexis Ohanian, Reddit Co-Founder, On Most Popular Subreddits ...

PHOTO: Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian at the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 28. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian at the Aspen Ideas Festival on June 28, ...

Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Joins The Verge to Host Web ...

The entrepreneur teams with the tech site for a ten-part series on startup culture.

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian to speak at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week

Internet entrepreneur and investor Alexis Ohanian, co-founder and executive chairman of the giant social news site Reddit, will speak at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week next month as part of NOLA Media Group's Future of New Orleans Project.

Ohanian joins a prominent roster of entrepreneurs and innovators who will address the annual NOEW event created and produced by The Idea Village. Other speakers include investor and former AOL co-founder Steve Case, Linda Boff of General Electric, Prakash Janakiraman of Nextdoor, and investment executive Jim Coulter of TPG Capital.

The Career Setback That Led Alexis Ohanian to Start Reddit ...

Alexis Ohanian: Y Combinator Rejected Us ... gave the interview of our lives, just nailed it,” Ohanian said during an interview in the Bloomberg GO green room.

Wait — Is Qai Qai America’s Most Important Doll?

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