America's New Tech Tycoon: Tumblr Founder David Karp Seals $1.1 Deal with Yahoo
By Frances Samson | May 20, 2013 2:52 PM EST
With the $1.1 billion sale of the popular micro blogging site Tumblr to Silicon Valley giant Yahoo, America could be looking at its newest tech tycoon in 26-year old David Karp.
Karp, who founded Tumblr in 2007 at age 21, just sealed a $1.1 billion deal as the Yahoo board approved the purchase of his blogging site on Sunday despite Tumblr's revenue of only $13 million in 2012.
Some tech sites suggest that new Yahoo CEO Marissa Meyer could be putting her reputation at stake with the deal, but the newly installed Yahoo chief reportedly believes that the acquisition will serve as 'the stake in the ground of what the strategy is going forward for Yahoo.'
Tumbler, a micro-blogging platform that effectively meshes components of all the widely used social networking sites, boasts of around 100 million users and 90 million posts daily. It allows easy sharing and posting of pictures similar to Instagram, posting of text and videos and even Gifs moving images. Users likewise have the option to follow interesting blogs and run news feeds similar to Facebook and Twitter.
The user and eye-friendly layout of Tumblr blogs has mushroomed assorted, unconventional blogs, and even celebrities like Lady Gaga and Joe Jonas maintain their own pages. Companies like global brand Cole Haan also turns to Tumblr to promote the brand and its various products.
The billion dollar deal is said to be long time coming for Karp who has consistently knocked away requests from potential buyers in the past.
Karp admitted in his interview with the Guardian in 2012 that he had been shoving aside buy out proposals particularly in the first three years of Tumblr. "There were a lot of (mergers and acquisitions) people who would pull you aside and you'd think "Well, s***, I could be pretty rich 23 year-old with very little effort," Karp said. "We stuck it out. I won't say I really knew why."
Karp's persistence must be making more sense now since he's become the latest addition to the growing list of young and accomplished tech entrepreneurs.
It is not clear, though, how much exactly are Karp's shares in Tumbler at the time of deal with Yahoo. It has been reported that he sold 25 percent stake in 2008 to some investors. At the time of the deal, the share of the investors was estimated at around $125 million.
Karp is a native New Yorker having grown up in the Upper West Side of Manhattan. His father was a music composer who did songs for both films and TV, while his mother was a teacher.
At the age of 11, he learned on his own how to code HTML. He was a self-taught techie who started putting up his own consultancy business in his teens. He dropped out of school with his parent's consent at the age of 15 and continued the remaining years of his education through a homeschooling programme.
When he turned 17, he moved to Japan where he continued to enrich his programming skills that later saw him selling his concepts to tech companies.
After his stint in Japan, he returned to New York and marketed himself as a consultant. It was in 2007, at age 21, when he founded Tumblr in the apartment of his mother in Manhattan. In a year's time, funds from business capital investors already began pouring in.
For the longest time, Karp had been aggressively resisting the appeal of Silicon Valley. Before the Yahoo deal, he had been dodging lucrative deals that the tech industry could offer.
In his interview with the Guardian, he said he looked to remaining independent, "believing he could grow the company by growing ad revenue naturally."
Karp, who now braces himself for a quick lifestyle change with the sale of Tumblr, will take his long-time girlfriend Rachel Eakley with him in the experience. Chef and psychology graduate student Eakley is currently living in a modest apartment with Karp in Manhattan's West Village.
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