Imgur, founded by OU alumnus Alan Schaaf, Raises $40 Million

Alan Schaaf

Alan Schaaf at February’s #OUreddit event, at which he was a guest speaker

Imgur (pronounced “image-er”) announced last Thursday that it raised $40 million from Andreessen Horowitz, which is a far, far cry from what Schaaf started with when he founded the image-sharing site back in 2009 as a tool for uploading images to Reddit.

The only money I’ve ever invested personally into the service was the $7 for the initial domain name.

Guess who else contributed some money?


Reddit, who’s founder–Alexis Ohanian–brought Schaaf with him to Ohio University’s #OUreddit event in February, “was instrumental in bolstering the site’s early traction”.

“We know those guys at Reddit, we’ve played board games with them, Settlers of Catan. But to have a real partnership on paper now is great,” says Schaaf.

In The News

Imgur’s recent funding has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and Mashable.

Interested in entrepreneurship?

The Center for Entrepreneurship provides students flexible options for pursuing their dreams!

Learn more about the Major in Entrepreneurship and the Certificate in Entrepreneurship.

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Video & Photo Recap of #OUreddit #WTPbook Tour

Ohanian Visits OU

The entrepreneurial spirit of an Ohio University student brought the co-founder of reddit to the Athens Campus. Alexis Ohanian, one of the internet’s most prominent entrepreneurs, activists, and investors, spoke to students Monday, Feb., 24, 2014.

Alexander Harshaw, a media arts and studies major, was researching reddit’s inception and ended up on Ohanian’s website.

“I found that Alexis was promoting his new book and accepting appearance location recommendations via email.  I decided to give it a shot and it paid off in a big way,” said Harshaw.

Harshaw sent an early morning email to Ohanian and heard back the very next day.  Harshaw suggested that Ohanian bring Alan Schaaf to campus with him.  Schaaf, an OHIO alum ’10, founded the site imgur (pronounced “imager”), an image hosting site where users can upload and share images.

The next day Ohanian replied and referred Harshaw to his tour manager.  An entrepreneurship certificate candidate, Harshaw then connected the tour manager to the Center for Entrepreneurship, a partnership between OHIO’s College of Business and Voinovich School for Leadership and Public Affairs. With the on-campus connections made, they got started planning Ohanion’s visit to Ohio University.

Before Ohanian took the stage, videos played, the lights dimmed, and the crowd packed in, ready to hear from the man that Forbes dubbed, “Mayor of the Internet.”

Ohanian shared his journey from overweight middle school student sporting a bowl cut, to new-media mogul named twice to Forbes’s “30 under 30,” and named tech “Titan” in WIRED Magazine’s twentieth anniversary issue.

Action is what makes an entrepreneur, according to Ohanian. “Ideas are worthless.”  For someone who started one of the largest social news websites, helped launch a travel site, championed the use of the internet as a force for social change, that statement should be shocking.  He went on, “Ideas alone are worth nothing; execution is everything.”

Ohanian shared some samples of his early work that put kindly, lacked the polish of later examples.  “It’s okay for things to be janky.  Sucking at something is the first step at being good,” said Ohanian. He went on, “Go forth and suck, Bobcats!”

That kind of encouragement is just what Harshaw was looking for.  “It’s hard to make a name for yourself in the media industry. Well-rounded technical skills are important, but you won’t be able to make it anywhere if you don’t have an entrepreneurial spirit.”

As one of Ohanian’s slides said, “Entrepreneur is just French for ‘has idea, does them.’”

Harshaw is ready to put that thinking into practice. “You need to be ever vigilant for opportunities and prepared to promote your personal brand with passion.”

Ohanian’s final recommendation was to remember that, like in video games, you have zero lives remaining. “Go be great, Bobcats.”

Article written by Jessica Gardner


Compass: “Reddit co-founder and Imgur founder inspire next generation of Internet entrepreneurs

The Post: “Reddit, Imgur founders visit OU

The Athens News: “Social media guru: Success begins with failure

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Alexis Ohanian to Visit OU Next Monday

Watch, read, enjoy more information on the #OUreddit visit here.

Read full story here.

Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of, is coming to Ohio University Monday, Feb. 24, as a part of the Center for Entrepreneurship’s Guest Lecture Series. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. in Walter Hall Rotunda. Registration is free; limited seating available.

“This isn’t just my story, it’s the stories of your successful alums as well as current students, all learning from and contributing to the greatest platform for ideas the world has ever seen (the Internet),” Ohanian said in a press release.

“What a wonderful opportunity for the Center for Entrepreneurship and OU to host Alexis, the founder of reddit. We are all excited to see what he has to say about the future of the Internet and the entrepreneurial opportunities that exist today,” said Luke Pittaway, director of the Center for Entrepreneurship. “This is a must-attend event for anybody interested in entrepreneurship and the highlight of the year for the Center”

Joining Ohahian at Ohio University will be alumnus Alan Schaff, CEO and founder of imgur.

Following the presentation Ohahian will sign copies of his book, “Without Their Permission.” Books may be purchased at Bobcat Essentials, located on the fourth floor of Baker Center or at the event.

Networking opportunities directly follow the book signing at Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery beginning at 9:30 p.m.

This event is sponsored by the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Innovation Center’s 3D Lab, TechGROWTH Ohio, and Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery.

reddit Co-Founder Visited for #OUreddit

Check out a social media recap of last night’s #OUreddit #WTPbook tour with Alexis Ohanian and Alan Schaaf: View the story “Alexis Ohanian comes to Ohio University”.

Snoo is hanging out at Jackie O’s, getting ready for tonight’s #OUreddit event!

Are YOU excited?!

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Snoo last visited where Alan Schaaf started imgur while here at Ohio (see below the break for pictures)!

Now, he’s here….

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To Win Do This…

The first person to send the correct answer to will receive a free #OUreddit t-shirt!

See the description in “We’re having a contest” below if you’re confused or want to know how this works.

Snoo has taken up residence in a pretty important place.
(HINT: it has something to do with Alexis’ guest on the 24th)
(HINT HINT: that guest is Alan Schaaf)
(HINT HINT HINT: Alan is the CEO of imgur)

Can you guess where Snoo is? (“Room 210” is not the answer we’re looking for…)

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Congratulations to Damion Lark, who correctly guessed that Snoo was on the new 3-D Printer in the Innovation Center!

Snoo Ohio University Day 1 Pic 3Here’s the first photo for the contest!

Snoo looks to be a fan of…a printer.

Well, where on Ohio University’s campus is he?!

The first person to send the correct answer to will receive a free OU reddit t-shirt!

See the description below if you’re confused or want to know how this works.

We’re having a contest!

Snoo, the reddit alien, has been traveling around campus, seeing the sights of chilly Ohio University.

We will be posting photos of Snoo here periodically and will announce each photo on our Twitter.

Not every photo we post will be part of the contest (we want to keep you on your toes!). We’ll send a message like, “WHERE IS SNOO? 1st guess wins a free t-shirt!”

You’ll have to send your guess to The first person to guess the building/room where Snoo is in the picture will receive a free event t-shirt.

Alexis has a new message for you!

After watching it, peep the Ohio University subreddit!

<!—And don’t forget to RSVP!


reddit Co-Founder Wants to Hang Out!

Reddit Tour

It’s Coming!

reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian has a very big announcement to share with all of you.

From Alexis,

“I’m about to embark on an epic 100 stop, 65 college, 150 stop, 77 college, 5 month long tour promoting internet entrepreneurship. Sure, it’s technically for my book, Without Their Permission, which is both a blueprint and a rallying cry for the open internet and entrepreneurship, but what I want to promote is how our generation has a tremendous opportunity to do amazing things online. We’re all still figuring out just what kind of an impact the internet will have on the world — let’s be the ones doing it.

This isn’t just my story, it’s the stories of your successful alums as well as current students, all learning from and contributing to the greatest platform for ideas the world has ever seen (the internet).

Let’s hang out IRL, high-5, and I’ll doodle you a reddit alien while you alternate between asking me anything and telling me about your favorite subreddit.”

About his epic tour stop at OU

  1. YOU decide the conversation topics: The week before Alexis visits Ohio, he’ll jump on our subreddit to see what you want him to discuss in his keynote the following week! He’ll talk about anything you upvote most—seriously—and take your questions on stage.
  2. He’s bringing Imgur founder and Ohio alumnus, Alan Schaaf, to join the chat!
  3. Networking opportunities after the chat: Finally, to keep with the this-ain’t-no-conventional-book-tour-mentality, he’s going to have a book signing/networking combo so you can put your new-found enthusiasm towards planning your foray into entrepreneurship instead of standing in a long line.


Without Their Permission – book teaser

Watch the video below for a teaser of Without Their Permission by Alexis Ohanian, reddit co-founder. WTP is “a book for aspiring entrepreneurs eager to embrace the future of the internet for fun, profit, and the good of humankind. The world isn’t flat, but the world wide web is. May this be your blueprint.”

Pre-order the book

Alexis will be visiting OU with Alan Schaaf, founder of imgur, on February 24th!