Image for post
Image for post

Women’s Football Clubs are The New Esports Franchise — With More Upside

Women’s soccer is having a cultural moment in the United States and this Initialized investment, Angel City, embodies it. The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team has consistently been the best in the world. The stars are icons who have already transcended the sport, attracting more than 14.3 million Americans, who tuned in to watch the team celebrate their fourth title in 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. This audience is 27 percent larger than the number of Americans who watched the Men’s World Cup Final a year earlier. Yet somehow, women’s sports in the U.S. …


Image for post
Image for post
Focus, goldfish.

What Defining Brands Will Need To Win the 2020s

This originally started as a meditation on how brands and brand marketing needs to evolve over the next 10 years. In light of the recent coronavirus outbreak in the United States, I’ve added more context on what we’re advising companies to do and then also how the online and consumer landscape will change as households stay home for weeks, or potentially months, in 2020.

Ten years ago, I gave a TED talk about how brands would no longer be able to control the message and had to adapt to a world where conversations happening about them online were taking the lead. …


#MaskOn #MasksForAll

Yesterday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he’s issuing an executive order requiring all New Yorkers to wear a mask or face covering while in public. It’s a 100% reversal of advice from more than a month ago where medical-grade masks had to be prioritized for front-line healthcare workers. That’s left New Yorkers of all backgrounds scrambling to buy or DIY their own cloth masks amid a huge public health crisis.

Image for post
Image for post
Waqas & Sidra, co-founders of atoms. 📸 Zoe Black

Thankfully, many Initialized companies are stepping up to help, whether that’s in facilitating shipments of personal protective equipment or in helping small businesses secure fiscal stimulus money.

Now one of the teams I’ve worked with for years, Atoms, is doing the same. Waqas and Sidra, the founders of Atoms, have made New York City their home after an entrepreneurial journey that has taken them thousands of miles from their small hometown in Pakistan and through multiple companies they’ve founded making high-quality, beautiful, and tremendously comfortable shoes. …


Image for post
Image for post
Not a wolf.

Your dog isn’t a wolf. Direct-to-dog food is here.

I’m a step-dad to two dogs. I’m also part of a generation of millennials who treated their dogs as “starter children.” Our pets matter. A lot. And the trends are clear that digital natives are doing their research and want the best for their furry kids, so we invested in Jinx to reimagine a wellness brand that is designed for the modern dog, in the Internet age.


It’s Not HR. Culture is Built With or Without Your Permission.

If you’ve heard me talk about Paid Family Leave, you’ve heard me talk about Katelin Holloway, because she’s the one who joined Reddit shortly after I returned as Executive Chairman in 2014 to help lead a turnaround.

She was instrumental in taking a company that had literally no HR department — even with about 70 employees — and helping us to build and scale a culture to nearly 650 people when she left at the end of 2019. …


Image for post
Image for post

The first of three parts about the cutting edge of retail and fashion from Initialized Capital’s Alexis Ohanian

The past ten years have fundamentally changed the way we consume fashion: we used to buy fewer things, wear them for longer, and had fewer brands to choose from.

Instagram didn’t exist. Shopify only had 11,000 stores. Today there are more than 500,000 on their platform. Luxury fashion also felt distant and unattainable.

Today, young people are able to follow their favorite artists and celebrities more closely than ever. They can also use the same mediums to flex their own fashion conquests. …


We’ve initialized our first podcast

How do you “have it all” as a working parent? Working moms are asked this question incessantly, but it’s rarely asked of working dads. After my daughter Olympia was born, it took months before I was asked about work-life balance and the inevitable trade-offs of being a working parent. Whenever I’ve written or spoken about this subject, I’m struck by the reactions it generates with people both online and offline.

We’re already hitting a nerve. Sometimes it upsets people. Sometimes it excites them, but either way it’s something I want to dig deeper into because there are stories and perspectives here that clearly have an audience. …


I don’t always invest in personal childhood dreams, but when I do, they’re usually around gaming

Launch trailer for the first game on ArcadeumSkyWeaver

Growing up, I loved a collectible card game that was popular with my friends called Spellfire.

No, not Magic: The Gathering — the world famous card game, which has produced over 20 billion cards in the last decade. Instead, I played the knock-off made by the owners of Dungeons & Dragons. Though Spellfire was far less popular, we nevertheless spent countless hours playing, collecting, and trading these cards. …


America needs Paid Family Leave. Fathers need to use it.

Image for post
Image for post
Serena Williams & Alexis Ohanian, photographed by Garry Tan at a private initialized event

Serena only saw me on weekends for the first eight months of her pregnancy. I missed a lot of doctor’s appointments because I was deep in my third year back at Reddit in the midst of a big turnaround project that started in 2014. She was in Florida. I had to be everywhere else: San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles — anywhere our biggest clients were. I was fighting alongside our sales, communications, and business development teams to win deals and restore Reddit’s brand. I felt terrible about it. …


Image for post
Image for post
Yarden Horwitz & Olivier Zimmer, founders of Spate, photographed by Garry Tan

Trends don’t start at the top. They ebb and flow in a spate of data.

As the co-founder of Reddit, I got a front row seat to witness how the Internet has democratized the way mainstream culture shifts. No longer are trends defined and dictated by a handful of elite tastemakers or companies. New trends and ideas can come from the bedroom of any teenager with extra time on their hands.

Given that new tastes, styles, and aesthetics can come from anywhere, that’s created a new challenge for people running businesses — how do you know if your hunch is based on something real or not?

Yarden Horwitz and Olivier Zimmer, who built up the trendspotting division at Google, both left to co-found a startup called Spate that recognizes and leverages this new power dynamic. With Spate data, it’s no longer a guessing game for brands. I’ve worked with the leading CPG brands and they’re convinced data is core to understanding their market, but rarely are they able to build and retain the teams to do the heavy lifting of data-science and artificial intelligence required for the long-term. Tech companies struggle for the best engineers in the world — what chance do CPG companies have? …

About

Alexis Ohanian

Son of an undocumented immigrant. Business Dad. Founder & investor. Working on something new 👀

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store