Reddit Inc. has raised $300 million in new venture capital funding on a valuation of $3 billion in a bid to challenge Google LLC and Facebook Inc. in advertising.
The Series D round was led Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. and included Sequoia Capital, Fidelity, Andreessen Horowitz, Quiet Capital and the rapper Snoop Dogg. The $3 billion valuation is up from a valuation of $1.8 billion when Reddit last took funding in 2017. Reports that the round was imminent first circulated Feb. 5.
Founded in 2005 by University of Virginia students Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, Reddit likes to think it’s the “front page of the internet.” The site, an amalgam of social networking and online forums, was acquired by Conde Nast in 2006 before being spun off as a standalone company in 2011 on a $200 million valuation.
Reddit Chief Executive Officer Steve Huffman told CNBC today that “one of the things that’s been very important to us is that we can now assure advertisers that you are going to have a positive experience on Reddit and potentially even a new experience, a new way of connecting with customers.”
“We are reinventing the ads business, both on the technology side and our ability to sell it and to create a friendly home for users and brands alike,” Huffman added. “So we’ve made steady progress on all of these fronts over the last year, and we feel pretty proud of where we are. And as a result we are seeing a lot of attention from both brands and investors.”
The round has not been without controversy given that its lead investor, Tencent, is not only a major Chinese company, a country where Reddit is banned, but also a technology provider to the “Great Firewall of China” censorship system.
Much of that criticism has come from Reddit users. Some are suggesting that Tencent’s investment may see Reddit further censoring user content. But Tencent, according to Crunchbase, is an investor in 349 companies, many in the west, and there is no proof that they have ever interfered with or attempted to have a company it has invested in censor content.
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