On Wednesday, Reddit named Michael Seibel, the CEO of Silicon Valley startup accelerator Y Combinator, as the first black board member in the company’s history.
In 2014, Seibel
became Y Combinator’s first full-time black partner. He was previously a part-time partner at Y Combinator and had founded two startups backed by the accelerator, which also counts Reddit founders Ohanian and Steve Huffman among its alums.
“I’ve known Steve and Alexis since 2007 and have been a Reddit user ever since,” Seibel said in a statement
Wednesday. “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.”
In 2007, Seibel cofounded Justin.tv which became Twitch in 2014 and was acquired by Amazon for $970 million
that same year. In 2012, he cofounded another company called Socialcam, which sold for $60 million to Autodesk.
“Minority founders often feel like they are on the outside looking in when it comes to Silicon Valley and tech startups in general,” Seibel said in 2014
, adding that Y Combinator was “my path to Silicon Valley.”
The board on which Ohanian had been sitting was made up of one woman and four white men, including Ohanian. In a series of tweets
last week, Ohanian, who is married to tennis star Serena Williams, cited his family as one of the reasons for his decision to step down. He tweeted: “I’m saying this as a father who needs to be able to answer his black daughter when she asks: ‘What did you do?'”
After Ohanian announced his resignation, some in the tech industry began publicly campaigning for who they wanted to see fill the role.
“Even better than being replaced by a Black person would be being replaced by a Black woman,” tweeted
Ellen Pao, who served as interim CEO at Reddit and is a vocal advocate for diversity in tech. Pao specifically suggested Tiffany Ashley Bell
, the founder of The Human Utility, a Y Combinator backed nonprofit, who tweeted that she’d love to be
selected for the role.
Reddit, which calls itself the front page of the internet, has long wrestled with addressing hateful and racist content on its platform. Last week, some of Reddit’s most popular threads went private in an effort to protest hate speech and racism on the social platform.
Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Ohanian’s last name.