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Reddit made its much-anticipated debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday under the ticker RDDT, marking one of the most awaited tech public offerings in recent years. The popular social media platform, known for its unique content and vibrant community, opened strong with shares popping in early trading. The company’s CEO, Steve Huffman, acknowledged the mixed sentiment among redditors on platforms like r/wallstreetbets, where some expressed skepticism about the IPO, but overall, the enthusiasm was seen as a positive sign for other tech companies eyeing public offerings.

While Reddit’s market debut was met with excitement, the company faces challenges ahead. Originally planning to go public in 2021 with a valuation of $10 billion, concerns over the IPO market and investor interest led to a delay. Although Reddit’s revenue saw a 21% increase in 2023, totaling $804 million, the company is not yet profitable. However, Reddit sees potential in leveraging its vast trove of user-generated content for generative AI applications, recently striking a licensing deal with Google to train AI models using Reddit data. The company aims to capitalize on the growing trend of large language models in the tech industry.

Founded in 2005 by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, Reddit has evolved from its early days as a link-sharing project into a thriving platform dubbed “the front page of the internet.” Despite facing controversies over the years, such as shuttering offensive subreddits or adjusting data policies, Reddit’s user base has continued to grow steadily. The platform’s dedication to offering a space for diverse discussions and sharing content has garnered a loyal following, with users playing a crucial role in shaping its trajectory.

Redditors have proven their power time and again, notably during the GameStop short squeeze in 2021 orchestrated by users on r/wallstreetbets. The online community’s collective actions caused GameStop’s stock price to skyrocket, demonstrating the influence of Reddit’s user base in financial markets. Leading up to Reddit’s own IPO, users on the platform engaged in discussions about CEO Steve Huffman’s salary, questioning its size relative to Reddit’s revenue and comparing it to other tech leaders. The discussions reflected the active engagement of the community in the company’s developments.

During the IPO process, Reddit offered select users, including prominent redditors, early access to buying shares as a gesture of appreciation for their contribution to the platform. This move highlighted Reddit’s commitment to involving its community in significant events, a practice that sets it apart from traditional approaches to public offerings. While some users expressed caution about investing in Reddit’s stock, others eagerly participated in the opportunity to own a piece of the platform they hold dear, showcasing the strong bond between Redditors and the company.

As Reddit’s IPO unfolded, users shared their excitement and pride in being part of a platform that wields significant influence in the online world. Pictures of Reddit signage at the NYSE trading floor and the platform’s mascot, Snoo, ringing the opening bell were widely circulated on the platform. The event underscored the collective power of the Reddit community in shaping the platform’s future and celebrating its achievements. Despite the challenges ahead, Reddit’s successful market debut symbolized a new chapter in its journey as a pioneering force in the digital landscape, guided by its dedicated users and a commitment to innovation.

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