Gumroad, the buzzy one-man startup launched by Pinterest and Turntable app designer (and 19-year-old college dropout) Sahil Lavingia, officially launches today with over $1.1 million in seed funding from investors Accel Partners, Chris Sacca, Max Levchin, SV Angel, Josh Kopelman, Seth Goldstein, Naval Ravikrant, Collaborative Fund and Danny Rimer.
To use the Gumroad, sign in with Facebook or Twitter Auth and submit any link in the entry form, whether it be to a blogpost, Spotify playlist, Instagram, invite for an iPhone app, research paper or whatever you can come up with you crazy character!
The service asks you to set a price and gives you the option of whether or not you want to require an email for purchase and/or upload a photo.
Like a Bit.ly with payments built in, Gumroad makes it very very easy to share your payment engine/link on Facebook and Twitter, as well as track views and purchases with its Bit.ly-like analytics and a simple interface.
Lavingia thinks that Facebook and Twitter can become the new marketplace/store-front and thus, in his view, Gumroad has the potential to be a huge sustainable (even billion dollar) company. Gumroad obviously disrupts the traditional and current online distribution systems, allowing artists with massive Twitter followings like Kanye and Gaga to sell directly to their followers, for example.
“The store model is kind of broken,” he told me in an interview for TCTV, “Every one talks to their fans and followers on Twitter and Facebook. But there’s a disconnect in the way people talk to their fans and the way people sell to their fans.”
In the same space as Kout, the startup protects its transactions through strict PCI compliance, to the point where Lavingia has physical auditors come in to make sure security is up to snuff. Of course, as a payments company, preventing fraud is his biggest challenge.
Gumroad monetizes by taking a 5% cut and 30 cents out of every transaction and Lavingia’s eventual goal is to have it “become a thing” i.e. when people see a Gumroad link on a social network, to know what it is and click on it.
“I don’t think five years ago this could have existed,” he says, “Just like Twitter has granted anyone the ability to talk to people, Gumroad could potentially grant everyone the ability to sell stuff, online or offline.”