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By Michelai Graham
Boardroom's Tech Reporter
March 24, 2024
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Tech Talk is a weekly digest by Boardroom’s Michelai Graham that breaks down the latest news from the world’s biggest tech companies and the future of industry-shaping trends like AI.

This week, Android launched a new campaign to highlight Google’s new Circle to Search feature. I had the pleasure of speaking with Adrienne Lofton, Vice President of Consumer Marketing at Google, about how campaigns like this come together with culture at the center. Give it a read.

A peek into today’s edition:

  • Everything you need to know about Reddit‘s IPO
  • Yikes. The DOJ is suing Apple 
  • LinkedIn is reportedly developing games

Did Reddit Just Have the Best IPO for a Social Network?

Reddit officially made its debut as a publicly traded company on Thursday. The social media company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the RDDT ticker. Reddit launched in 2005 with a simple idea: anyone could submit links for others to vote on to create a “front page of the internet.” Those votes led to customized pages of recommended links and content for each user. Much of that is still in Reddit’s DNA.

This moment is almost two decades in the making, but before we jump into how well Reddit did on its public debut, let’s take a look at some major milestones from the company over the years.

Major Milestones

  • June 23, 2005: Reddit is founded by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian.
  • Oct. 31, 2006: Huffman and Ohanian sold Reddit to Condé Nast Publications for a reported $10 to $20 million and moved the company to San Francisco.
  • January 2008: Subreddits are born.
  • January 2009: The “I Am A” subreddit was created, becoming one of the most popular subreddits to date. The forum often hosts Ask Me Anything sessions with notable people.
  • October 2009: Huffman and Ohanian part ways with Reddit.
  • November 2014: Ohanian joins Reddit’s board as executive chairman. (He later stepped down on June 5, 2020, and called to be replaced by a Black person in response to the murder of George Floyd. Five days later, Y Combinator’s Michael Seibel was inducted into Reddit’s board.)
  • July 10, 2015: Huffman rejoins Reddit as CEO, a role he still holds today.
  • May 31, 2017: Reddit sunsets default subreddits and introduces the r/popular landing page for more inclusivity.
  • April 2018: Reddit unveiled a new design for its website and introduced its famous logo, Snoo.
  • Dec. 13, 2020: Reddit acquires Dubsmash to integrate video creation tools.
  • March 21: 2024: Reddit begins trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

A Historic IPO

Nearly 19 years after its inception, Reddit finally went public. The company’s mascot, Snoo, was on deck at the NYSE to ring the opening bell on Thursday. Reddit priced its IPO at $34 per share, but the stock opened at $47 and reached a high of $57.80 on Thursday. Reddit’s market cap reached $9.5 billion on opening day, exceeding its target of $6.4 billion, and shares closed at $50.44 each. Reddit and its selling shareholders raised $748 million, which is what the company was targeting.

Reddit originally filed to go public in December 2021 following the GameStop meme stock saga, but after hitting some roadblocks, the company decided to delay its public offering. It’s clear that now was the best time for the social media network to make its debut on the stock market. Reddit filed to offer 22 million shares for its IPO while reserving 8% of shares to offer to eligible users, board members, and family and friends of employees.

One unexpected person who netted millions of dollars from Reddit’s public debut is OpenAI founder and CEO Sam Altman, who holds 9% of the company’s shares. The shares he controls were worth $613 million at closing price on Thursday. Altman is a close friend of Huffman and has known Reddit’s CEO since the social network’s launch years ago. The pair met during their time as part of the inaugural Y-Combinator class. If you’re wondering where all of those entrepreneurs ended up, check out this read.

Reddit is the first social media company to go public in nearly five years. Before Reddit, Pinterest was the last social network to hit the stock market on April 18, 2019, at $19 per share, with a high of $24.40 on opening day. It’s obvious the market has a larger appetite for social media stocks right now, as Reddit joins the likes of Meta, Snap, and others.

Reddit boasts an estimated 850 million monthly active users and around 73 million daily users. The company has yet to turn an annual profit, but we can expect to see some positive dollar signs for Reddit soon.

I’ll continue following Reddit’s successful public debut and report on the big news here.

  • The US Department of Justice filed an 88-page lawsuit against Apple, claiming that the Big Tech giant monopolizes the smartphone market by making it difficult for consumers to interact with some platforms and switch to other smartphones. Earlier this week, Bloomberg reported that Apple is in talks with Google to license its Gemini AI tech on iPhone devices.
  • Starbucks is (finally) sunsetting its Web3 rewards program, Odyssey, on March 31 after launching it in beta in late 2022. The Odyssey marketplace will be moved over to Nifty Gateway for consumers still interested in chasing Starbucks‘ coffee NFTs.
  • Microsoft hired Inflection AI co-founders Karén Simonyan and Mustafa Suleyman to lead its new Microsoft AI unit, which will focus on developing Copilot AI initiatives. Suleyman, who also co-founded AI startup DeepMind, which was acquired by Google in 2014, will lead the new unit as CEO and executive VP, while Simonyan is joining the unit as chief scientist. The Information reported that Microsoft is paying $650 million to Inflection AI since it’s hiring its leaders and most of its 70-person staff.
  • Elon Musk‘s Neuralink company shared a video on X allegedly showing that its first human patient using a brain implant can control a mouse to virtually play chess. The patient, who was paralyzed from the shoulders down during a diving accident, is participating in Neuralink’s first human trial that’s supposed to last for six years.
  • AI music generator Suno released its flagship platform, which lets users generate “radio-quality music” made with original lyrics and beats from simple text prompts. The platform can generate two-minute-long songs in seconds.
  • Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang announced a new class of AI chips named Blackwell during the company’s developer conference. The new computing chips will ship later this year and are expected to be Nvidia‘s most powerful yet.

Apparently, LinkedIn is working on launching a new gaming experience within its platform. While the idea sounds fun, I’m going to bet that this project won’t make it out of the beta phase since consumers go on LinkedIn to build their professional networks, not play games.