Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian to Talk Entrepreneurship, Venture Capital at UVA Darden

By Dave Hendrick

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit and the venture capital firm Initialized Capital, will return to the University of Virginia on 17 April to share stories of his entrepreneurial journey with the University community.

Ohanian, who graduated in 2005 with undergraduate degrees from the College of Arts & Sciences and the McIntire School of Commerce, will speak at the Darden School of Business at a The New York Times’ Get With The Times event titled Innovate Like a Boss With Alexis Ohanian. The free event is open to the public, but registration is required.

Ohanian spoke to UVA Today ahead of the event.

Q. Going back to your time at UVA, how did your UVA education influence your early ideas for Reddit?

A. I double-majored in commerce and history (and minored in German!) while I was at UVA, which is definitely not a traditional background for a founder. If I did it all over again, I probably would have chosen to pursue a degree in computer science (or at least taken more than one CS class at UVA), but I still think there is a ton of value in the broad exposure a liberal arts degree provides.

My classes at UVA also taught me how to synthesize a broad range of ideas into a cohesive and compelling story, and then communicate it. This was certainly valuable in the early days of Reddit, when we needed to be able to influence people to use our platform or come work for us. It’s hard to start a technology company with a not-very-technical background, but it’s not impossible. You just have to be more cognizant of how to find a good partner with a complementary skill set.

Q. What parts of your education are most valuable to you today?

A. I credit my liberal arts degree with my innate curiosity, critical thinking and communication skills, all of which certainly come to good use in my career now. The humanities education really prepares you for that in a way other disciplines don’t.

Those skills alone are not sufficient to build a technology company, but they’re important. It’s one reason why we invested in Make School; they also believe in creating a curriculum that teaches students to code, but also helps them understand the world with a well-rounded education.

Read the full interview on UVA Today.

The 17 April event begins at 7 p.m. at the Darden School. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. Register here.

Watch for coverage of the talk on The Darden Report.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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