It seems that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg is no longer the boy CEO and it’s not strictly because of his very adult move to take the largest social network down to Wall Street. There is an old new face to social media’s superstar pantheon – his name is Sahil Lavingia, he’s a 19-years old CEO, and he secured $7 million in funding for his company. Take that, Mark.
As an employee of Pinterest and the one who designed the virtual pinboard, Sahil Lavingia contributed to what is now the 3rd (or 4th, depending on who you speak to) largest social network online. Unfortunately for Pinterest and fortunately for Lavingia, being an employee was not the goal – being his own boss and running his own company was, so he left Pinterest before its meteoric rise and started Gumroad.
The aim for Gumroad is to streamline the distribution of online payments. The key differentiation for Gumroad is that it connects prospective buyers and sellers across social media platforms. So as a member of Gumroad, you can sell your goods to your Facebook friends or Twitter followers. Gumroad will help convert social networks into virtual marketplaces. The company will take a 5% cut of sales in addition to .25¢ compared to a similar service offered by Ebay, who takes a 9% cut plus insertion fees (which run from .10¢ to $2.) Gumroad will be the simplest and cheapest method of online social network transactions available.
Although not a totally new idea, enough VCs think highly enough of the idea, and more importantly of Lavingia to invest $7 million into Gumroad. SV Angel, Accel Partners and Lowercase Capital gave Gumroad $1.1 million in funding late last year. Gumroad has announced they’ve received another $7 million round led by Mike Abbot, former Twitter engineering head and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. Additional investors in Gumroad include Max Levchin of PayPal and Turntable’s founder Seth Goldstein.
Lavingia is one of the youngest persons to receive money from a venture capital firm. Wise beyond his years, Lavingia is being guided and mentored by Josh Elman, a principal at Greylock Partners, a Silicone Valley venture capital fund. It’s impressive to consider when you take into account that Lavingia learned how to code four years ago at the ripe age of 15. Mark Zuckerberg must be proud.
Sources: Mashable.com, The Economic Times, Gumroad.com