Meet Michael Seibel, Reddit's first ever black board member
Reddit has named seed capital firm Y Combinator's CEO Michael Seibel as the first black member of its board. The appointment comes just a few days after Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of the service, stepped down in a push for diversity and urged the company to put a black candidate in his seat. Here's all you need to know about Seibel and his appointment.
A partner at Y Combinator since 2014 and CEO since 2016, Michael Seibel has advised and funded nearly 2,000 start-ups through his company's core accelerator program - which even backed Reddit in its early days. He is particularly known for promoting diversity and inclusion in the tech and start-up industry and has supported several initiatives along those lines, including BlackTech4BlackLives and Black Tech Weekend.
Along with backing start-ups, Seibel, who holds a Political Science degree from Yale, himself co-founded two companies - Justin.tv, which became live streaming service Twitch and was sold to Amazon for $970 million, and Socialcam, a social video service that was sold to Autodesk for $60 million. Prior to that, he served as the Finance Director for former NAACP president Kweisi Mfume's Senate campaign.
"Over this period of time, I have 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."
Seibel's appointment to the board comes after Alexis Ohanian, who co-founded Reddit but was not involved in daily duties, decided to leave the board of the company to push the platform to be more diverse. He left on June 5 and urged the company to bring a black replacement for his seat, a request Reddit CEO Steve Huffman promised to honor.
Ohanian's decision came at a time when the United States is witnessing turmoil after a black man, George Floyd, was killed in Minnesota last month by a white cop Derek Chauvin. He was being arrested for allegedly buying cigarettes with a counterfeit banknote.
On a related note, Ellen Pao, the former CEO of Reddit, criticized the company for amplifying racism and violence. She responded to a post shared by Huffman - one that said Reddit does "not tolerate hate, racism, and violence" - and said, "You don't get to say BLM when Reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long."
I am obligated to call you out: You should have shut down the_donald instead of amplifying it and its hate, racism, and violence. So much of what is happening now lies at your feet. You don't get to say BLM when reddit nurtures and monetizes white supremacy and hate all day long https://t.co/VN5XCiYp5g— Ellen K. Pao (@ekp) June 2, 2020