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Reddit has secured $50 million in fundraising for improvements to the company’s infrastructure. The list of investors was mostly comprised of tech professionals, including Gmail creator Paul Buchheit and Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel, but also featured Snoop Dogg and 30 Seconds to Mars frontman Jared Leto.
As the BBC reports, in addition to infrastructure improvements, such as adding more staff to the company’s current workforce of 51, Reddit says they will pass on some of the funds to its users in the form of shares. The company has suggested this could be done through a crypto-currency like Bitcoin.
“We’re working on a way to give 10% of our shares from this round to the Reddit community,” said Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, a major US investment firm which deals mainly with young start-ups and which led the Reddit fundraising cycle, during one of Reddit’s Ask Me Anything sessions.
“I hope we can increase community ownership over time – I’ve always thought communities like Reddit should mostly own themselves, and that it’s time for some innovation around corporate structure here,” added Altman. Reddit CEO Yishan Wong claims investors agreed to the scheme in their investment terms.
“We are thinking about creating a crypto-currency and making it exchangeable (backed) by those shares of Reddit, and then distributing the currency to the community,” said Wong. The investors have explicitly agreed to this in their investment terms.” However, the CEO has warned users, “This plan could totally fail,” adding, “If it does, we will find another way to get the shares to the community somehow.”
As The New York Times reports, while Leto has been known to make angel investments in start-ups, previously contributing to Zenefits, a human resources software company, Snoop Dogg’s participation has been particularly coveted. “He’s like a Reddit superstar,” said Altman of Snoop. “The site loves him.”
When Altman first approached Reddit, he asked the company for a wish list of investors. “Snoop was high on the list,” he told The New York Times. “We asked him to invest, and he said yes.” Not only did the hit-making rapper acquiesce, he’s enjoying his new status among the cream of Silicon Valley.
During an Altman-run Ask Me Anything set up to field user questions about the investment cycle, the most popular comment was by Snoop Dogg, who goes by the handle Here_Comes_The_King. “Whaddup Sam!” he opened, adding, “They let the Dogg n the building. Now do I get an official title??”
While Snoop’s AMAs are some of the most popular on the site, shock rocker Rob Zombie‘s recent session was the cause of much scorn from Reddit users. As CraveOnline Australia reports, Zombie was criticised by Reddit users after giving two and three-word answers and displaying a general disinterest.