Sahil Lavingya looks like a typical youngster. But his story is far from ordinary. This young man, who recently turned 22, dropped out of his college, the prestigious University of Southern California (USC), at 19 to join Pinterest. But what makes him more interesting was his decision to leave the company when it was at its peak to start a company of his own, Gumroad.
Born to Singapore-based Indian Investment bankers, Sahil always tried to design new things and look out for new ideas. He discovered his love for designing during his school days. He taught himself iOS app development and by the time he had left school, he had already sold more than 20 of his creations and had become self-sufficient. While in college studying Computer Science, he showcased his work online and built a brand for himself. This caught the attention of Ben Silbermann, founder of Pinterest which had a modest following back then. He dropped out of his college after his first year in 2010 and joined Pinterest as first designer and second engineer. He designed the first iOS app for Pinterest. Since then Pinterest hasn’t looked back and neither did he.
However, as many engineers often get bitten by the bug to create something for themselves, Sahil began to feel restless at Pinterest with a need to design something of his own. And so he left his lucrative job at Pinterest in August 2011and started a payment company named Gumroad.
His decision to leave Pinterest at its peak made the investors take notice and eventually he raised 1.1$ billion in investments within four days.
Gumroad has a unique model. Being a part of the stressful process himself, Sahil knows the difficulty in which artists sell their products without much margin of profit. It has been created with an aim to benefit independent artists and designers. Gumroad can be simply described as a medium that lets people sell their products directly to their followers on Twitter and Facebook. They take 5 percent of the profit made by the artists instead of a monthly subscription fee which makes them different from other such payment sites. This is helpful as most of the sites take money every month even if there has been no sale or a huge one. Within weeks of its launch, Gumroad has generated a considerable traffic and in Japan, it has been featured amongst the top 2000 sites.
Sahil Lavingya feels that Gumroad has a potential to stay in the market for another ten years to come. He understands the changing market environment and is confident that his company has the ability to adjust to them. He is a true businessman with his ability to take the calculated risk and read the market conditions. Though he is not sure what will be new in Gumroad but he’s got a lot of time.