Reddit Adds YC’s Michael Seibel to Board Days After Alexis Ohanian’s Departure

June 10, 2020
Reddit names new board member days after its co-founder publicly departed
Y Combinator CEO and NEw Reddit Board MEmber Michael Seibel. | Photo: Reddit

Reddit announced Wednesday it has added Y Combinator CEO Michael Seibel to its board of directors, filling the seat of cofounder Alexis Ohanian, who resigned last week.

Ohanian made waves on Friday when he declared he was leaving Reddit’s board of directors and urged the company to replace him with a black candidate. While he didn’t explicitly call out Reddit, the company has come under fire for its handling of hate speech and white supremacy on its site. Ohanian simply said it is “long overdue to do the right thing,”claiming “we need diversity in the highest levels of business now more than ever.”

Reddit CEO Steve Huffman agreed in an open letter published the same day.

Now, less than a week later, the company has announced it’s brought on Seibel, who is also the cofounder of live streaming company Justin.tv/Twitch and Socialcam, a social media startup that was bought by Autodesk in 2012. During his time at Y Combinator, Seibel has funded and advised more than 1,800 startups.

“Few people have Michael’s deep background in tech and know the challenges and opportunities we face as well as he does, so we are honored he is joining us,” Huffman said in a statement. “Not to mention, he is one of the smartest and kindest people in tech.”

Throughout his career, Reddit says Seibel has “consistently promoted diversity and inclusion in the startup world.” After graduating from Yale University in 2005, Seibel served as the finance director for former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume when he ran for senator of Maryland. He went on to become Y Combinator’s first black partner prior to becoming CEO and has since supported a number of initiatives to increase diversity in the tech industry, including Black Tech Weekend and BlackTech4BlackLives.

As for his relationship with Reddit, Seibel says he, Ohanian and Huffman go way back.

“I’ve known Steve and Alexis since 2007 and have been a Reddit user ever since,” Seibel said in a statement. “Over this period of time I’ve watched Reddit become part of the core fabric of the internet and I’m excited to help provide advice and guidance as Reddit continues to grow and tackle the challenges of bringing community and belonging to a broader audience.”

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