David Karp: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

David Karp is the CEO of Tumblr, the microblogging platform that sold to Yahoo earlier today for $1.1 billion. But who is the enigmatic leader behind one of the largest sales (even bigger than when Facebook bought Instagram) in Silicon Valley history? Here’s what you need to know about David Karp.

1. Karp was Born and Brought Up in New York City

Karp grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and hasn’t left the city since. Karp and his brother, Kevin, grew up in Manhattan and David went to The Calhoun School till 8th grade. Karp stayed true to his native roots when Tumblr was created; Karp kept the offices in New York. Currently, Tumblr operates out of the Flatiron District in Manthattan. Karp lives in New York City too, buying a $1.6 million dollar apartment in Williamsburg, which he shares with his girlfriend Rachel Eakley.

2. He Dropped Out Of High School

While other tech icon’s like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates dropped out of college, Karp one upped them both. At the age of 15, while most kids are dealing with the issues in high school, Karp was mastering HTML and decided to drop out and get homeschooled instead, so he could make money designing webpages for local businesses. While Karp had hoped of going to MIT or a school in New York, he never returned to high school.

3. Karp Worked With Another Company Before, UrbanBaby


Karp was actually an executive at another company before starting Tumblr. UrbanBaby, an online parenting forum, was looking for some IT help and Karp was recommended to entrepreneur John Maloney. Eventually, Karp was hired by the company as the head of product, after he was able to complete a project that was supposed to take a few days in only four hours. While working for UrbanBaby, Karp moved, by himself, to Toyko and it wasn’t until 3 months later that UrbanBaby actually figured out he wasn’t in New York. Karp left the company in 2006 when UrbanBaby was sold to CNET.

4. He Modeled for J Crew

Karp Model

Fun Fact: Karp actually was on the cover for an issue of J Crew. Betabeat wrote that Karp appeared as a model for J Crew:

WWD reported that Tumblr founder and CEO David Karp will be starring in J.Crew’s fall campaign. That’s the second print campaign for the notoriously advertising-averse Mr. Karp, who also appeared in a Uniqlo ad last summer.

5. He Needs Some Business Help

Karp has a lot of qualities, but business doesn’t seem to be one of them. Despite Tumblr’s popularity and user-friendliness, the company has a difficult time making money and generating a revenue. Tumblr only made $13 million last year in revenue, but has already reach that mark in the first quarter of 2013.

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