Alexis Ohanian

Alexis Ohanian

Serial Internet Entrepreneur and Investor, Co-Founder of Reddit and Founder of Breadpig

Speaker Categories: E-Commerce | Intellectual Capital | Business & Consumer Trends | Human Rights | Business Growth | Innovation | Innovation | Entrepreneurship | Intellectual Capital | Social Trends | Headliners - Technology | Information Technology

Travels From: CA, United States.

Speaker Fee Range: $40,001 or greater*

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Alexis Ohanian Bio
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Serial Internet Entrepreneur and Investor, Co-Founder of
Reddit and Founder of Breadpig

Alexis Ohanian is an entrepreneur and investor based out of Brooklyn, NY, and best known as the co-founder of reddit, a platform for online communities to share links and have discussions. Sixteen months after he graduated college, reddit was acquired by Condé Nast. Alexis continued to manage product and business at reddit until leaving in 2010 to volunteer in Armenia for Today he sits on the board of Reddit, Inc., which averages 100 million unique visitors a month and is one of the 50 biggest US websites.


After working as a Kiva Fellow for three months, Alexis returned to the US to focus on a social enterprise he'd started called Breadpig. Described as a "sidekick-for-hire," Breadpig publishes books featuring some of the most popular webcomics in the world. It also provides services for people who want to make something nice, or take a risk on something crazy. The non-sustainable profits are donated to worthy causes (over $200,000 so far!). At that same time, Alexis also accepted a position as Y Combinator's Ambassador to the East.


In August 2010, just weeks before the launch, Alexis joined the team at Hipmunk, Steve Huffman's second Y Combinator startup. Alexis helped create the Hipmunk brand identity and managed their marketing and PR. After a year, Alexis moved on to an advisory role and accepted an offer from Grand Central Publishing for his first book, Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made not Managed,  which was as a national bestseller.

Internet Activist

In early November 2011, Alexis joined the fight against SOPA and PIPA, becoming one of the public faces for the movement, which ultimately thwarted both bills in a display of citizen power never seen before by lawmakers. 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, which toured the heartland of America with Erik Martin to campaign for the open internet and produced a documentary about the adventure, Silicon Prairie.  He also sat on the NYC Mayor's Council on Tech and Innovation under the Bloomberg Administration.

Tech Startup Mentor

In 2013, he launched a show on The Verge called Small Empires  about NY tech startups -- the founders who create and the people who use these digital platforms. Alexis is an active investor with over eighty tech startups now in his portfolio. He designed the logos and brands for reddit, Breadpig, and hipmunk, and he has proven the model for making something people love online & offline, building brands that are both community-driven (reddit) and not (hipmunk). He uses these experiences to mentor and advise the young startups in his portfolio and recent YC graduates. Today he's a part-partner at Y Combinator and is back at reddit as Executive Chair.


Alexis 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 then turned 30), 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.

Keynote Speaker

Alexis has spoken at universities including MIT, Yale, Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, NYU, Columbia, UCLA, the University of Michigan, the University of Edinburgh, and the University of Virginia to name a few, has lectured at conferences like TED, the Clinton Global Initiative, SXSW and ROFLCON, has spoken to companies such as Google, BBDO, and Betaworks, and has been 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.


Alexis has appeared in countless publications in print and online: New York Times, WSJ, 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.

Alexis loves hummus, the Washington Redskins, the Brooklyn Nets, his cat, and his girlfriend. His mother always told him he was special.

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.

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.

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.

  • Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed
    Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed Purchase Book

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Recent Books

  • Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed
    Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed Purchase Book


  • Alexis Ohanian opened up the Øredev conference with a fantastic keynote. The talk had the main topic on embracing the users of any system produced. He showed eye-opening examples of our changing word and how anyone making products needs to follow, adhere and advance. Since then he has developed his international reputation even further spreading his wise words globally. As a conference organizer I was very pleased to cooperate with Alexis with his prestigeless manners, and commitment and adoption to his audience.

    Oredev Conference Coordinator
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