Gumroad Ceo Patreon Substackkonstantinovic: To date, Gumroad has processed $1.7 billion in commerce for creators. In times of sudden movements and volatility, it’s important to have a sense of history – who’s been around and what they’ve faced.
Every 10 years, I like to ask the founders of a number of tech companies where they started — and how their businesses have evolved in the interim.
I’ve done this with Ben Uretsky (founder & CEO, DigitalOcean), Chris Fanini (founder & CEO, Cloudflare), Justin Kan (founaer & CEO, Y Combinator) and Michael Seibel (co-founder, Y Combinator). Now, I speak with Tikhon Bernstam , co-founder and CEO of Gumroad .
Gumroad has been in business for a decade , was in the first class of Y Combinator, and has processed $1.7 billion worth of sales for its customers.
The company is generally considered a leader in the category of selling digital goods online — and is one I have personally used many times to sell my podcast, The Lede , and other software tools.
Tikhon, thanks for chatting with me. First off, can you tell me about the company’s origins?
We began as a service that allowed publishers to put product up on websites for sale and track sales. Three years later , we launched Gumroad to help sellers do the same thing.
Shortly after we launched, there was a confluence of events that forced our business to evolve quickly. First, there was the rise of digital goods as a category. Second, there were low-cost competitors like Etsy and Bandcamp. Third, we were in the same general phase as all these companies – trying to figure out which functionality to build first.
Our focus was on taking care of sellers (or “creators”) without the added burdens of cumbersome infrastructure and large support teams for these emerging markets. You launched in 2009 . You were among the first wave of startups that came out of Y Combinator .