Reddit, the community-driven link site popular for its “ask me anything” series and abundance of NSFW material, announced this week that it has raised $50 million from investors, promising that a portion of it will go back to users.
The round was led by longtime Redditor Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator, who in a blog post praised the site as “an example of something that started out looking like a silly toy for wasting time and has become something very interesting.” Other major investors include Alfred Lin of Sequoia Capital and Marc Andreessen of Andreessen Horowitz. The next tier of funders includes some interesting names, including rapper Snoop Dogg and singer/actor Jared Leto, who were both involved in last week’s fundraising round for brokerage startup Robinhood.
Snoop is a longtime member of the site and appears to check in most days under the username Here_Comes_The_King. Leto, who moonlights as the frontman for Thirty Seconds to Mars when he’s not winning Oscars, last participated in an AMA in December 2013, though he brought his bandmates along.
Other investors include Gmail creator Paul Buchheit, Minted CEO Mariam Naficy and Eventbrite execs Kevin and Julia Hartz.
CEO Yishan Wong said in his official announcement that the cash will be used to hire more staff for its product development and community management teams, and for building new tools to help them moderate the ever-increasing amount of comments and posts on the site. Other priorities include working with third parties on mobile apps, improving ad services and of course just the paying of bills. Wong said Reddit currently has a staff of about 60.
As part of this round of funding, Wong and Altman also jointly announced plans to develop a way to give the Reddit community part ownership in the company, which was founded in 2005, later swallowed up by Conde Nast and then spun off again three years ago as an independent entity. The details haven’t been hammered out yet, but according to Wong, Altman and the other investors have “proposed to give 10% of their shares back to the community, in recognition of the central role the community plays in reddit’s ongoing success.” Specifics on what that means will be shared soon, they say.
There’s no word yet on whether or not most of the funding round will be spent on bacon.