Reddit Co-Founder Alexis Ohanian Has Advice for Little Rock (and other flyover cities)

You don't have to be in San Francisco to be a successful entrepreneur!

Alexis Ohanian, the co-founder of Reddit just completed a powerful, insightful--but most importantly--real keynote at New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW).

During the hourlong presentation, Ohanian shared the story of how he and his co-founder were rejected from the inaugural cohort of Y Combinator, only to be offered a position in the accelerator if they would ditch their idea and come up with something else.

In a twist of fate, they decided to scrap the company they had been working on and showed up at Y Combinator with little more than a t-shirt and a name. "I wouldn't have made the t-shirt first," Ohanian laughed with the audience when asked what advice he would give his younger self.

"Don't do it the way I did. I had the logo design and t-shirt made before I really had the idea for the company fleshed out."

Ohanian went on to encourage the audience of entrepreneurs by telling them that you don't have to be in Silicon Valley to be a successful entrepreneur. He cited examples of young founders he is mentoring and has invested with as well as average Reddit users who have built platforms and community in unexpected places from Chattanooga to Oklahoma.

The most potent words for Little Rock (and communities like ours) came at the close of Ohanian's remarks. "Search for the unfair advantages that only your City has to offer," he encouraged the New Orleanians. He told them to leverage the culture that only New Orleans can offer and harness technology in new and innovative ways to bring it to market.

Search for the unfair advantage that only your City has to offer.
— Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit

How Little Rock is Leveraging our "Unfair Advantage"

This advice is consistent with the direction The Venture Center is going with the VC FinTech Accelerator. Because of the foundation in FinTech that was laid here in the 1960's, we can now leverage that expertise through powerful collaborations with our friends at FIS. 

Little Rock, we are standing at the precipice of one of the most exciting periods of our development as a community as we push forward the legacy of FinTech in our State through emerging FinTech innovation.

Carpe diem, Little Rock. It is our time.