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DAVID KARP’S TUMBLR SELLS TO YAHOO FOR $1.1B

Five years ago, tech prodigy David Karp was determined that the business he founded in his mother’s small New York apartment would not be absorbed by a multinational firm.

“We would really rather not be gobbled up by a big media company,” then 21-year-old Karp, the creator of the blogging platform Tumblr, said in an interview with the New York Observer.

I’m always so surprised when people fill their homes up with stuff 

But what if someone was throwing $US1.1 billion cash at you?

Tumblr CEO David Karp.

Tumblr CEO David Karp.

Karp, 26, now looks set to become the latest tech billionaire with reports that Yahoo’s board has approved a deal to purchase Tumblr for

$US1.1 billion in cash.

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It’s a mind-boggling amount of money for anyone, let alone a once socially awkward teenager who dropped out of high school at the age of 15.

Remarkably it was Karp’s mother, teacher Barbara Ackerman, who suggested her son drop out of high school at the age of 15 so he could be home-schooled and continue an internship at an animation production company, Frederator Studios.

Yahoo! are expected to pay $US1.1 billion for Tumblr.

Yahoo is expected to pay $US1.1 billion for Tumblr. Photo: AFP

Karp’s mother recognised that, while her son was not particularly engaged with his classes or his fellow students, he seemed to thrive at the internship where he could talk easily with the company’s coders and engineers.

It was a passion he had developed early, teaching himself how to code HTML at the age of 11.

Karp’s mother told the New York Times that she could feel the sense of relief through her hand on her son’s shoulder when she floated the idea to him.

Soon his career was taking off.

When an entrepreneur named John Maloney sought technical help with his start-up, UrbanBaby.com, a Frederator employee recommended Karp.

The project had to be done in a couple of days, but Karp did it in four hours. At the age of 16, Karp was made UrbanBaby’s head of product, and he was given some equity in the company.

The following year Karp moved to Tokyo, where he lived for five months on his own.

It was there that he cooled on the idea of making robots, and instead decided to become an entrepreneur.

He told The Guardian that initially he would lie about his age when dealing with clients.

“I was so silly – I tried to be very formal and put on a deep voice to clients over the phone so I didn’t have to meet them and give away how young I was,” he said.

“I lied about my age. I lied about the size of my team. I lied about my experience. I was so terribly embarrassed about it for so long. I should have just owned up.”

When he moved back to New York, Karp set up his own software consultancy company, Davidville.

But he soon became fascinated by a new short-form of blogging called a “tumblelog”.

Karp told the New York Observer that he “kept waiting” for one of the established blog platform players to set up a platform for tumblelogging and, when that didn’t happen, he did it himself.

Karp founded Tumblr in 2007 at age 21 from the bedroom of his mother’s apartment in New York.

Sometimes described as Twitter meets YouTube and WordPress, Tumblr lets its users curate pictures, videos and text in one place online. The site gained 75,000 users in the first fortnight.

Tumblr now says it has more than 108 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees.

The website ranking site Alexa lists Tumblr as number 32 in terms of global popularity, and this year Karp made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in the media category.

But despite his success, Karp prefers not to live an opulent life.

He currently lives with his girlfriend Rachel Eakley, a chef and psychology graduate student, in a sparse apartment in Brooklyn.

“I don’t have any books. I don’t have many clothes,” Karp told Forbes. “I’m always so surprised when people fill their homes up with stuff.”

The deal, if confirmed, would be the largest for Yahoo since Marissa Mayer took over as chief executive last year and could help the struggling internet pioneer regain traction with younger internet users.

Neither Yahoo nor Tumblr has commented on the report.

But Mayer has scheduled a news conference in New York on Monday at which the company said it will unveil “something special”.
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Henry Sapiecha

 

YAHOO BUYS TUMBLR FOR $1.1BILLION

The board of Yahoo! has agreed to a deal to purchase the popular blogging platform Tumblr for $US1.1 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported on Sunday.

Yahoo! did not immediately return AFP’s calls for confirmation, but CEO Marissa Mayer has scheduled a news conference in New York on Monday at which the company said it will unveil “something special.”

Reports last week said Yahoo! is eyeing the move to attract more users from the key 18- to 24-year-old age bracket, and that the Internet pioneer sees the fast-growing Tumblr as one of the “coolest” sites with young internet users

Yahoo! has been looking at a range of acquisitions since Mayer took over as chief executive last year and vowed to revive the company, which has faded in the face of competition from Google.

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in New York, Tumblr says it has more than 107 million blogs, 50 billion postings in 12 languages and 175 employees. The website ranking site Alexa lists Tumblr as number 32 in terms of global popularity.

If the acquisition takes place, it would be the biggest for Yahoo! under Mayer and come in the wake of other pricey deals for startups, such as Facebook’s acquisition of the photo app Instagram for stock worth $US1 billion at the time

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Henry Sapiecha