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Alexis Ohanian Paul Graham Reddit Steve Huffman

Founded, funded by Y Combinator

Jun 2005

Reddit is founded by Huffman and Ohanian both 22-year-old graduates of the University of Virginia. In first year they had rooms across the hall from each other, and became friends through video games.

Huffman wanted to make a phone system to order subs while he was pumping gas at a local gas stand. Ohanian calls a lawyer and they formed a company called RedBrick Solutions, because Charlottesville is full of red brick buildings. In the spring of their senior year they go to Boston to see a presentation by Graham at Harvard called “How to start a start-up”. They were able to get Graham to meet them for drinks at a local bar where they pitched their phone idea. A few days later, Graham tells them to apply for his new investment fund, Y Combinator. The students travel to Boston to pitch, but are rejected. On the way back to Charlottesville Graham calls them to say he wants them to come up with another idea — a web app. They decide to match the mechanism of Delicious with the content of Slashdot to build “the front page to the web”.

Y Combinator gives them $12,000 and they move to Boston in early June, 2005. After a few weeks the site is not ready when Graham links to it from an essay, giving it site 1000 hits. Reddit was the first Y Combinator launch, taking a total of $100,000. To make the site appear popular they populate it with fake posts.

How Reddit Began (feat. Founders Steve Huffman & Alexis Ohanian) | Wizard