Reddit will use its new funding to expand its international presence and explore more content types, co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman told CNBC on Friday.
“First commandment is to make Reddit great. Make Reddit faster and more relevant, make it work for more people, ”said Huffman of the company’s plans at TechCheck. “And then we look to the future, so internationalization is a big effort on our part. Video will be another major effort on our part, so the same strategy.
Reddit announced Thursday that it will raise up to $ 700 million in a Series F funding round led by Fidelity Management. The company said it had raised $ 410 million from Fidelity in its second round of funding since the beginning of the year, when small traders gathered on its platform in their battle against Wall Street institutions.
In February, shortly after the Reddit-fueled GameStop saga, the social media site carried out a capital increase that doubled its valuation to $ 6 billion. Reddit also generated $ 100 million in ad revenue for the first time in the second quarter of 2021, up 192% over the same period last year.
Founded in 2005, Reddit had 52 million daily active users and 100,000 subreddit communities as of January, according to Reuters. The website’s infamous WallStreetBets forum now has more than 10.7 million subscribers.
“If we go back in time, Reddit was just links 15 years ago, and then we added text and images, as well as third-party videos and our own video,” Huffman said. “Every time we add a new type of content, our users are creative in new ways, and usually in ways we can’t predict. … We look forward to another big development from Reddit here. I think there is a version of Reddit that is even better viewed than read. Text doesn’t go anywhere either, of course. “
Reddit is still lagging behind other major social media sites in its growth. The most recent valuation appears alongside Twitter’s $ 51.7 billion valuation and 206 million monetizable daily active users in the second quarter and Facebook’s $ 1 trillion valuation at the close of Friday and 1.9 billion daily active users low in June. Both tech giants have been around for about as long as Reddit.
Reddit’s unique ability to host users pioneering a new type of content like the meme or increasing the popularity of certain types of content sets the company apart, Huffman said.
“I think that’s what makes Reddit really interesting because our users are doing things that we or no one else would ever predict, and I think that’s the fun of it,” he said.
Reddit co-founder and former chairman Alexis Ohanian also told CNBC on Friday that the company’s online community was one of its greatest strengths. “I think any company now really understands the importance of actually having a motivated audience that isn’t just used or broken down for their information, but actually contributes to something much bigger than they are,” he said.
Ohanian, who is now a venture capitalist, said Reddit could be part of technology’s role in building trust with communities to fight misinformation.
“Traditional institutions have lost a lot of trust in people’s eyes as well as simply surpassed them in terms of the quantity and sometimes even the quality of the content,” Ohanian said in the “Squawk Box”.
The site’s meme stock trading activity has previously led to conflict with the Wall Street establishment and even led the US Securities and Exchange Commission to monitor more closely the volatility of the trading prices of some stocks.
Huffman said that Reddit had talks with the SEC and that the company has long been monitoring tampering tactics, whether it be in the form of “users, a clever marketing team, or something larger and more nefarious.” He said that people who try to manipulate Reddit tend to stand out from the site’s regular user community.
“Our responsibility at Reddit is that our users are able to create a community, find belonging, and gather around their interests and passions,” said Huffman. “Whether that’s stock trading and Wall Street betting or longer term trading and … investing, both are celebrated and both are welcomed on Reddit.”
– Reuters contributed to this story.