“The first company idea was if we could let people skip lines by ordering food from their mobile phone. A year and a half later, we changed our idea because Y Combinator rejected us for that idea and said do anything else, just not mobile. [W]e just didn’t have smartphones. We would have failed miserably.”
The Birth of Reddit
"We [Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian] applied to Y Combinator with My Mobile Menu and got rejected. We had a few drinks that night and were pretty bummed. We started to head back, but on the way back to VA from Boston PG [Paul Graham, co-founder of Y Combinator] called. but they didn't like the idea and if we changed it, they would listen to another pitch. I found out later, it was Jessica who rescued us who really convinced them to give us a shot.
We got off the train in Connecticut and took the next train we could get back to Boston. Then we met with Y Combinator. They basically said we will fund you for browser, not mobile, because it was 2005. Mobile wasn't a thing yet.
We didn't have an idea yet - we just kept asking [PG] questions and we kept going, and figuring out what was interesting in the world and what problem we could solve.
What we hit on was this - there was no one place to go to find the most relevant and interesting stories of the day. There were news sites and individual blogs, but there wasn't one comprehensive place, no zeitgeist, even though I hate that word, for those kinds of discussions and news online, in whatever community you found.
So we pitched that. And they liked it and said we'll fund you.
We were just happy we got some money, we didn't realize exactly what were building, or how much it would change the internet. We started by building discussion threads and the algorithm and then we launched the forums - and from there, it grew."