Alexis Ohanian

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Alexis Ohanian
Alexis Ohanian 1-17-2012.jpg
Ohanian protesting SOPA and PIPA, 2012
Born (1983-04-24) April 24, 1983 (age 32)
New York City, New York, USA
Residence New York City, New York[1]
Nationality American
Education University of Virginia
Known for entrepreneurship, startups, social marketing
Notable work Reddit, Small Empires

Alexis Ohanian (born April 24, 1983) is an American internet entrepreneur, activist and investor based in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, best known for co-founding the social news website Reddit, helping launch travel search website Hipmunk, and starting social enterprise Breadpig. He is a partner at Y Combinator. As of November 13, 2014, he is also the executive chairman of reddit.[2]


Alexis Ohanian was born to an Armenian-American father Chris[3] and a German-born mother.[4] He went to Howard High School in Ellicott City, Maryland. After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2005, Alexis Ohanian started, with co-founders Steve Huffman and Aaron Swartz. Reddit initially received funding from Y Combinator and was later acquired by Condé Nast Publications in 2006. Ohanian continued to work closely with reddit as a member of its Board of Directors.[5][6][7]

In 2007, Ohanian launched breadpig, an "uncorporation" that produces geeky merchandise and gives the proceeds to charity. He continues to run breadpig today as its Founder and Chief Swine Defender.[8]

After leaving reddit in 2009, Ohanian spent 3 months working in microfinance as a Kiva fellow in Yerevan, Armenia.[citation needed]

In 2009, Ohanian spoke at TED about a whale named Mister Splashy Pants.[9]

Ohanian helped launch travel search website hipmunk in 2010, and now acts as an advisor.[10]

In June 2010, Ohanian announced the launch of his company Das Kapital Capital, which focuses on startup investing, advising and consulting.[citation needed]

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.[11]

Open internet activism[edit]

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 grassroots 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.[12]

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 DC.[13][14]

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 dubbed him "Mayor of the Internet."[15][16]

Crowdfunding campaigns[edit]

On December 10, 2012, Alexis Ohanian teamed up with Lester Chambers of The Chambers Brothers to launch a Kickstarter project, with the intent to make a new album titled "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."[17]

Two years later, Ohanian raised $12,244 for the non-profit Black Girls Code on[18] In May 2014, Ohanian used 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.[19]

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2011 and 2012, Ohanian was named to the Forbes "30 Under 30" list as an important figure in the technology industry.[20][21]

In 2013, Ohanian and Erik Martin were featured as "champions of innovation" in the 20th Anniversary issue of Wired.[22]

Published works[edit]

Ohanian published a book titled Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed on October 1, 2013.[23][24] Without Their Permission ranked 4th on the Wall Street Journal's best sellers list for Hardcover Business.[25] In connection with the book, Ohanian embarked on a 5-month, 150-stop and 75-university book tour that aimed to spread the startup entrepreneurial spirit and give students the event he had always wished he had as an undergrad.[26][27]

Small Empires[edit]

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.[28] The first season ran for nine episodes.

The second season premiered in October of 2014.


NYRD Radio[edit]

On October 15, 2014, Alexis Ohanian launched the NYRD Radio podcast.[29] 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 inspiring entrepreneurs can apply to work through an idea with him.[30]


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.[31] Each week, the podcast focuses on a different story and features a guest around whom that story is centered.


"I want to stay hungry. I really believe my resources are best used to help projects that make the world suck less."

"Being effective at social media, whether for business or personal use, means capturing people who have short attention spans. They're only a click away from a picture of a funny cat, so you have to make your thing more compelling than that cat. And that can be a high bar."

Speaking engagements and media appearances[edit]

Ohanian has spoken at over 80 universities, and lectured at conferences like TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, SXSW, and ROFLCon.[citation needed] He has spoken to a range of companies, including Google, BBDO, BursonMarsteller, Johnson & Johnson, Hyatt, Kraft, and Palantir.[citation needed] Ohanian was also the keynote speaker at an entrepreneurship summit in Cairo organized by the U.S. State Department months after the Egyptian Revolution.[citation needed]

Ohanian has appeared on numerous major television networks, including NBC, ABC,[32] CBS,[33] CNBC,[34] CNN,[35] MSNBC,[36] Bloomberg. Most notably, he has been interviewed on The Colbert Report,[37] Charlie Rose,[38] and Meet the Press.[39] He has also been featured and quoted in notable magazines and newspapers including the New York Times,[40] Wall Street Journal,[41] LATimes,[42] Time,[43] Washington Post,[44] New York Post,[45] The Atlantic,[46] Esquire,[47] and Bloomberg Business. [48] [49]


  1. ^ "Alexis Ohanian". CrunchBase. Retrieved 22 May 2012. 
  2. ^ "Reddit CEO Resigns, Alexis Ohanian Returns As Chairman". 
  3. ^ Ohanian, Alexis. "Episode 15 - A Century After Genocide". Upvoted. Reddit. Retrieved 18 June 2015. 
  4. ^ Kompanek, Christopher (20 September 2013). "Alexis Ohanian on founding Reddit and future start-ups". Financial Times. Retrieved 25 October 2013. His mother was born in Hamburg and his paternal grandparents were Armenian immigrants. 
  5. ^ "How Founding Reddit Got Me Through The Hardest Part Of My Life - Business Insider". 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  6. ^ "How Y Combinator Helped Shape Reddit". 2007-09-26. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  7. ^ Martin, Erik (2011-09-06). "what's new on reddit: Independence". Blog.reddit. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  8. ^ [1][dead link]
  9. ^ Alexis Ohanian. "Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media - TED Talk -". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  10. ^ "About". Hipmunk. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  11. ^ "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian To Join Y Combinator". 2010-09-01. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  12. ^ Alexis Ohanian SOPA Protest.m4v. YouTube. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  13. ^ Lindsey Hoshaw (23 October 2012). "In the Midwest, Reddit finds a thriving startup culture". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  14. ^ "The Internet's March On Washington". BuzzFeed. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  15. ^ Collier, Kevin. "The top 10 most influential Internet rights activists in 2012". Society. The Daily Dot. Retrieved 3 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Andy Greenberg. "How Reddit's Alexis Ohanian Became The Mayor Of The Internet". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  17. ^ Carr, Austin (2012-12-11). "Reddit Cofounder Alexis Ohanian Taps Kickstarter And The Chambers Brothers To Prove Music Industry Wrong | Fast Company | Business + Innovation". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  18. ^ "Black Girls Code]". Retrieved 25 August 2014. 
  19. ^ "Save Net Neutrality: Billboard in FCC's Backyard". Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  20. ^ Barret, Victoria (December 19, 2011). "30 Under 30 – Technology – Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  21. ^ Barret, Victoria and Connie Guglielmo (December 17, 2012). "30 Under 30 – Tech – Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  22. ^ d'Agostino, Brita (April 16, 2013). "From Zuck to Musk: The Champions of Innovation, in Portraits". Wired. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  23. ^ Victoria Barret. "Alexis Ohanian, CEO, Breadpig, 28 - In Photos: 30 Under 30: Technology". Forbes. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  24. ^ "Without Their Permission". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  25. ^ "Best-Selling Books: Week Ended Oct. 6 - WSJ". WSJ. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  26. ^ "Without Their Permission — Book Tour Dates". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  27. ^ "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)". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  28. ^ "Small Empires". Vox Media. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  29. ^ "NYRD Radio". NYRD Radio. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  30. ^ "Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian Wants to Answer Your Toughest Startup Questions -". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  31. ^ "Episode 0 - The Story of u/youngluck (Dante Orpilla) : upvoted". Reddit. January 8, 2015. Retrieved February 9, 2015. 
  32. ^ ABC News. "'This Week': Internet Privacy". ABC News. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  33. ^ "Reddit co-founder talks Boston bombing apology, appeal of social media site". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  34. ^ "New York vs. Silicon Valley tech scene". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  35. ^ "Breaking News Videos, Story Video and Show Clips -". CNN. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  36. ^ "Morning Joe - Joe Scarborough, Mika Brzezinski & Willie Geist on msnbc". MSNBC. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  37. ^ "Alexis Ohanian". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  38. ^ "Alexis Ohanian on 'Without their Permission'". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  39. ^ "PRESS Pass: Alexis Ohanian". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  40. ^ "Founder of Reddit and the Internet’s Own Cheerleader". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  41. ^ Gautham Nagesh (30 April 2014). "Internet Users Mobilize as FCC Prepares Net Neutrality Plan". WSJ. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  42. ^ Alexis Ohanian: Reddit co-founder, author Without Their Permission. YouTube. 23 January 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  43. ^ "Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian Talks About His New Book -". Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  44. ^ Hayley Tsukayama (5 September 2012). "Alexis Ohanian, Reddit co-founder and Web advocate". Washington Post. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  45. ^ "Reddit co-founder sees tech stampede". New York Post. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  46. ^ "No One Opposes All Surveillance: False Equivalence on the NSA". The Atlantic. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  47. ^ Tom Junod. "Alexis Ohanian". Esquire. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 
  48. ^ [2][dead link]
  49. ^ Adrian Chen. "Wikileaks Reveals Reddit Co-Founder Tried to Work for Shady Intel Firm". Gawker. Gawker Media. Retrieved 14 June 2015. 

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