Reddit To Take on Facebook And Twitter After Securing $200 Mn In Funding

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Over the past decade, the Internet has seen many websites come and go. In Facebook-Instagram-Google-Youtube-Snapchat dominated world, Reddit, the front page of the Internet, is looking to make a comeback, and in style.

Reddit, a social news aggregation and a community discussion founded in 2005 by current CEO Steve Huffman, has received over $200 million in a fresh round of funding from firms like Andreessen Horowitz and Sequoia Capital, and investors like Y Combinator’s President Sam Altman and SV Angel’s Ron Conway and co-founder Alexis Ohanian.

A majority of this investment, according to Huffman, will be used to redesign the whole look and feel of reddit.com.

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The CEO plans on rewriting almost the entire ‘decade old’ code. It will develop a new, updated, suave new look for the site, that will attract more users. And the company will focus mostly on the desktop version as its 80% of 300 million monthly users still come from the desktop.

“An early version of the new design, which we saw during our interview, looks similar to Facebook’s News Feed or Twitter’s Timeline: A never-ending feed of content broken up into “cards” with more visuals to lure people into the conversations hidden underneath” huffman said in an interview with Recode.

A month back, Bloomberg had reported that Reddit was looking for an investment of $150 million initially. Back in 2014, Reddit had raised $50 million also from Sam Altman, Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz.

Since the first funding, which led the site to be valued at $500 million, Reddit went through a few controversies. One example was the sacking of Reddit’s comms director Victoria Taylor.  This led to a rather bad controversy in which former CEO Ellen Pao stepped down. Co-founder Steve Huffman replaced her and took up the mantle again.

The previous funding helped Reddit launch its first mobile app in early 2016. Also, it gained 82.54 billion page views, 73.15 million submissions, 725.85 million comments, and 6.89 billion upvotes from its users since 2015.

 The Rollercoaster Ride of Reddit

Reddit is an American social news aggregation and a community discussion website, where users can submit text posts and links as well as up vote or down vote them. The article entries are arranged by the areas of interest known as “Subreddits”. Some unpaid moderators monitor and prevent harassment.

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Y Combinator is the incubator that initially helped launch Reddit. Its President, Sam Altman is also a board member of Reddit. Condé Nast, owned by Advance Publications, had bought Reddit in October 2006 and spun it off. However, now its CEO Bob Sauerberg also sits on Reddit’s board of directors.

The site has not only survived since 2005 but has also been thriving in recent years. Reddit now has over 300 million monthly users.  Further, the site had almost 50,000 active Reddit communities as of April 2017, with nearly 25 million daily votes on an average. It is ranked #5 most visited website in the US and #9 in the world.

Mobile App To Improve?

Reddit is one of the few sites that doesn’t prioritize its mobile app. But that hasn’t stopped users from taking to the mobile app. Altman, one of the investors and board member of Reddit, said that though mobile accounts for about 20% of Reddit’s users, it accounts for nearly 50% of the total time spent on the site. With this new round of funding, Reddit hopes to further its mobile app.

The big question is, will Reddit plan on exiting in the future due to investors? Huffman, however, told that he isn’t looking to exit at the moment.

“I think there are a lot of paths to liquidity. The one that we’re on often ends in an IPO. But we don’t have plans for that in the future that we can see.”

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