Alexis Ohanian says he wants to create a better world after the birth of his daughter with the tennis legend
TL;DR: Becoming a father has given Alexis Ohanian new perspective.
The co-founder of Reddit said this week that he would step down from his 9-to-5 (and then some) gig at the platform. While the 34-year-old tech executive will rechannel his energy as a full-time general partner at a venture capital fund he created, Ohanian also wants to spend more time doing things important for his young daughter with tennis champ Serena Williams.
“I came back from parental leave at the start of January, and really started thinking about where I wanted to be, what I wanted to be doing,” he told the Wall Street Journal. In a online post announcing his plans, Ohanian added that this meant helping “the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow building companies that truly matter,” something he aims to do at Initialized, his VC firm.
Ohanian, who married Williams late last year, has become an icon of sorts for new fathers in Silicon Valley thanks to his advocacy of parental leave. Reddit offers 16 weeks of paternity leave— one of the more generous packages in Corporate America —and Ohanian says that his mentees feel like he’s given them “permission” to take time off to care for their kids. “I was a believer before, but now I whole-heartedly believe that every single dad should take it,” he told Fortune. “That really put into perspective how important these policies are.”
The tech executive said he noticed the gendered biases that new dads and moms have to deal with. While there was much talk about if Williams, who holds 39 Grand Slams, would return to her professional career— indeed, she’ll compete at the Fed Cup this month —there was no doubt that Ohanian would go back to work.
That said, Ohanian’s decision to leave America’s fourth most popular website may have been made easier by better fortunes for Reddit, which is owned by closely held media giant Advance Publications. Ohanian told the Journal that revenue increased fivefold in the three-plus years of his latest stint with Reddit, which he sold to Advance in 2006 for a reported $20 million. The company’s latest fundraising round valued it at $1.8 billion.
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